Decolonising the Mind is a collection of essays about language and its constructive role in national culture, history, and identity. The book. Page | Decolonising the Mind Ngugi wa Thiong’o from Decolonising the Mind In this essay one of Africa’s most distinguished novelists discusses some of . Ngugi describes this book as ‘a summary of some of the issues in which I have been passionately involved for the last twenty years of my practice in fiction.

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Decolonising the Mind : The Politics of Language in African Literature

Should one write in one’s native language and achieve a small yet culturally prepared audience, or should one thee in English decooonising claim an international readership—become world literature instantly, as it were? For my father, the work of liberating Africans out of the English metaphysical empire and neocolonialism had to be done in African languages.

By using our website you agree to our use edcolonising cookies. Some of us, especially those who grew up in urban areas, cannot speak their mother tongues. European languages had become the default vehicles for African literature. He was made to fail the entire exam. The location of this great mirror of imagination was necessarily Europe and its history and culture and the rest of the universe was seen from that centre.

Language as a system of verbal signposts makes that production possible. The Making of a Rebel. Orature oral minnd in Kenyan languages stopped.

Where his own native languages were associated in his impressionable mind with low status, humiliation, corporal punishment, slow- footed intelligence and ability or downright stupidity, non-intelligibility and barbarism, this was reinforced by the world he met in the works of such geniuses of racism as a Rider Haggard or a Nicholas Monsarrat; not to mention the pronouncement of some of the giants of western intellectual and political establishment, such us Hume “.

The alienation became reinforced in the teaching of history, geography, music, where bourgeois Europe was always the centre of the universe. How to Become an Immigrant and an Exile. Writers may also write in English or various Englishes.


So the written language of a child’s upbringing in the school even his spoken decoloniwing within the school tje became divorced from his spoken language at home.

Why not use African literary theory to unlock the aesthetics of African literature?


English was not just a language of communication, or a language that helped one climb out of poverty and into power and wealth, it was the language of the cultured. If you speak two or more languages, does this assertion meet with your own experience?

This article is part of nugi series about.

It had a suggestive power well beyond the immediate and lexical meaning. To control a peoples culture is to control their tools of self-definition in relationship to others.


How Does Sororicide Work? English became the main determinant of a child’s progress up the ladder of formal education.

Written literature and orature are the main means decolohising which a particular language transmits the images of the world contained in the culture it carries. African American portal Politics portal. Or Why Humans Walk Upright the most translated African language story is to claim a piece of literary history yet to be written.

Writers are asked to submit original works written in their own languages and provide an accompanying English translation. Since culture is a product of the history of a people which decoolonising in turn reflects, the child was now being exposed exclusively to a culture that was a tje of a world external to himself.

For one it tied language and culture to the material work of both colonization and decolonization. Sometimes the culprits were fined money they could hardly afford. He returned, without explanation, “to his familiar role as a critic of imperial European languages writing in English.

Language was not a mere decolonisng of words. The domination of a people’s language by the languages of the colonising nations was crucial to the domination of the mental universe of the colonised.

In my wife, daughter and I visited my former primary school. And so when the police with guns and big black coats came for my father, it must have been a dream I dreamt. This page mmind last edited on 24 Novemberat In struggle is our history, our language and our being.


I do not know of a single journal that produces literary criticism in an African language. We spoke Gi kttyu in and outside the home. This is what this book on the politics of language in African literature has really been about: Since the new language as a means of communica- tion was a product of and was reflecting the “real language of life” elsewhere, it could never as spoken or written properly reflect or imitate the real life of that community.

The Best Books of This was the village from which the nearby Bata shoe Company and tea plantations drew their labor. We also ask writers to feel free to treat language as a theme, where language can be a character, a topic in a story or even incorporate languages other than English as the theme in the story.

In the spring ofJalada published and facilitated the translation of a short story originally written in Gikuyu by Ngugi into over 60 languages—47 of them being African. The Makerere generation was composed of writers in their twenties and thirties who understood themselves as having a decolonisjng to contribute to decolonization; this generation sees itself as having the mission to create democratic spaces for African literature, languages, and through internet use, a Pan-African readership.

The play was performed in his native decolonksing Gikuyu in an open-air theatre in Limuru, with actors who were peasants and workers in the village.

The real aim of colonialism was to control the people’s wealth: How do decolonisimg feel the opening sentence affects the average Western reader? I can vividly recall those evenings of storytelling around the fireside.