Decolonising the Mind by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Decolonising the Mind by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is a collection of essays that discusses the influence of colonization on African (and applicable to other decolonized nations’) literature, theater, and fiction. It proposes various ways in which decolonized nations, especially Kenya (and Africa) can take their literary works and arts back from the influence of the colonizer. The text also proposes the importance of African languages and there is a constant reference to Chinua Achebe.

Introduction

A “misleading stock interpretation of the African realities has been popularized by the western media which likes to deflect people from seeing that imperialism is still the root cause of many problems in Africa” (1).

Thiong’o looks at the African realities as “they are affected by the great struggle between two mutually opposed forces in Africa today: an imperialist tradition on one hand, and a resistance tradition on the other” (2).

Continue reading

The Gunny Sack by M. G. Vassanji

gunnyThe Gunny Sack by M.G. Vassanji is set in Africa and is written in the style of a memoir. Vassanji himself was born in Nairobi in 1950 and educated in Tanzania. The gunny sack is bequeathed to the protagonist, Salim Juma, a Tanzanian Asian by his grandaunt, Ji Bai. The sack unravels the histories of the characters.

Themes: home, communities, diaspora, family relationships, and migrant life.

The gunny sack is described as,” It sits beside me, seductive companion, a Shehrazade postponing her eventual demise, spinning out yarns, telling tales that have no beginning or end, keeping awake night after night, imprisoned in this basement to which I thought I had escaped” (5).

Continue reading