DeColonizing the Mind - Chapter 4 (Parts I-IV): The Quest for Relevance Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Instead of talking about the language of African poetry, Ngũgĩ decides to sum up the major thematic point of the discussion so far. According to Ngũgĩ, underlying the politics of African languages is the search for “a liberating perspective within which to see ourselves clearly in relationship to ourselves and to other selves in the universe” (87). Ngũgĩ calls this search the “quest for relevance” (87). The question, therefore, is not just how literature is written but how it is presented to its audience, and, in particular, young African schoolchildren. Both the choice of material and the interpretation of it matter.

Ngũgĩ uses the example of the seven blind men all touching a different part of the same elephant to explain his concept of “base.” Each man stands in a different position—in other words, has...

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