African Revolutionary Writers, Part 6a
Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Ngugi the Novelist
The attached document is the final Chapter of Ngugi wa Thiongo’s great novel, “Petals of Blood”.
Like Ousmane Sembène’s masterpiece, “God’s Bits of Wood”, “Petals of Blood” is a novel of struggle, with many characters. The last chapter debriefs the main characters, one by one.
“God’s Bits of Wood” was set in the past. “Petals of Blood” imagines a future, or a sequel to independence, a kind of “development”, in various senses of the word. The imaginary new town of “Ilmorog” becomes a patchwork, or a concretisation, of different elements of Kenya life in the time of neo-colonialism.
Ngugi was detained without trial in 1977 for a year. Even in his fictional work it is clear that Ngugi is a committed revolutionary, with quite a thorough grasp of revolutionary theory.
This is one of many books of Ngugi’s, and Ngugi is one of many African writers. Those who were relatively more artistic and less politically organised have also been a strong part of the liberation movement.
In this series of ours, Eduardo Mondlane’s writing has already shown how significant have been the artistic productions in the anti-colonial struggles.
In the neo-colonial anti-imperialist struggle the artists are equally as crucial, and perhaps, as writers, they are under even greater pressure.
A new generation of anti-imperialist artists and writers is now needed.
· The above is to introduce the original reading-texts: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Petals of Blood, extract, 1977.