The Martyr Essay

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In the following essay on Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Joseph Mbele discusses how the Kenyan author's controversial use of his regional language, Gikuyu, raises questions and problems around the relationship of language to culture, questioning whether the author's use of his regional language functions as he intends to "decolonize" the African mind.

The subject of language is now central in discussions of African literature. Many issues have been raised. Is language the determining feature of African literature? Is it acceptable for the African writer to write in non-African languages? In the process of asking such questions, Ngugi wa Thiong'o has emerged as a key advocate of writing in African languages, and it has become almost unfashionable to challenge his views on the subject, but I believe it is necessary to examine what Ngugi has been saying and to consider the possibility of looking at the language question in...

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This section contains 3,050 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Martyr Study Guide
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