Decolonising the Mind by Wa Thiong'o Ngugi

By Wa Thiong'o Ngugi

Ngugi describes this booklet as 'a precis of a few of the problems within which i've been passionately concerned for the final two decades of my perform in fiction, theatre, feedback and in instructing of literature. North the USA: Heinemann; Kenya: EAEP

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Decolonising the Mind

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In pre-colonial Kenya, the peasants in the various nationalities cleared forests, planted crops, tended them to ripeness and harvest - out of the one seed buried in the ground, came many seeds. Out of death life sprouted, and this through the mediation of the human hand and the tools it held. So there were rites to bless the magic power of tools. There were other mysteries: of cows and goats and other animals and birds mating - like human- beings -and out came life that helped sustain human life.

In the second half of- the seventies. Education Theatre II, as it was officially called, becae an alternative to the government-owned but foreign-run Kenya national Theatre and Cultural Centre. Tamadum and other groups staged one innovative play after another under the guidance of the indefatigable Mumbi wa Maina and other directors. The running of the Schools Drama Festival, previously in the hands o_ expatriate staff in the Ministry of Education, now came under the directorship of the first Kenyan African Drama and Literature officer Mr Wasambo Were.

They saw no necessary antagonistic contradiction between belonging to their immediate nationality, to their multinational state along the Berlin-drawn boundaries, and to Africa as a whole. These people happily spoke Wolof, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Arabic, Amharic, Kiswahili, Gikuyu Luo, Luhya, Shona, Ndebele, Kimbundu, Zulu or Lingala without this fact tearing the multinational states apart. During the anti-colonial struggle they showed an unlimited capacity to unite around whatever leader or party best and most consistently articulated an anti-imperialist position.

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