Monday, August 16, 2004

Disturbing: Ngugi's return to Kenya

The Times reports that Ngugi Wa Thiong'o returned to Kenya last week for the first time in more than 20 years. Earlier he had spent time in prison for writings that were critical of the state. He also became famous/notorious amongst postcolonial critics for his decision to abandon the English language for his native Gikuyu, for ideological reasons.

Now, the respect for freedom of expression and human rights have improved. But the law and order situation has suffered. Ngugi and his family were brutally attacked in their hotel room:

On Wednesday night, while Mr. Ngugi was resting in a Nairobi apartment between speaking engagements, four robbers barged in and brutalized him, his wife and a friend. The attackers raped his wife and stole cash and jewelry as well as Mr. Ngugi's laptop computer. One of the intruders burned Mr. Ngugi's face repeatedly with a cigarette. So brazen was the attack, some Kenyans have speculated it might have been carried out by former enemies.

My sympathies for Ngugi and his family as they attempt to recover from this ghastly crime. It's almost too horrible to be real.


Kerim Friedman said...

Awful news.

I just wanted to clarify: He didn't abandon English - just writing literature and plays in English. He still uses English for academic texts, talks, etc.

9:16 PM  
Amrit said...

This is indeed shocking, and scary. If Prof. Ngugi was attacked as a writer, this also shows how much danger writers pose to certain interests. It's very sad and all our sympathies (although they are inadequate) are with him and his wife.

11:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home