Der Kenianische Schriftsteller Ngugi Wa Thiongo Z Hlt Zu Den Wichtigsten Erz Hlern Afrikas Sein Roman Herr Der Kr Hen Ist Der Afrikaroman Des Jahrhunderts, Eine Sehr Am Sante Satire Auf Den Prototypen Des Afrikanischen Despoten In Aburiria Soll Das Marching To Heaven Entstehen, Ein Gigantisches Bauwerk, Das Himmel Und Erde Verbindet Der Herrscher Von Aburiria Will Sich Damit Ein Monumentales Denkmal Setzen Besonders Seine Minister Machokali Und Sikiokuu Wollen Vom Ruhm Profitieren Und Buckeln Darum Umso Ergebener Als Der Herrscher In Die USA Reist, Um Bei Der Global Bank Geld F R Den Bau Zu Leihen, Wird Er Von Einer Mysteri Sen Krankheit Berrascht, Er Bl Ht Sich Wie Ein Ballon Auf Und H Ngt Seither Unter Der Zimmerdecke Kein Arzt Kann Ihm Helfen, Nur Der Herr Der Kr Hen , Der Ber Zauberkr Fte Verf Gt Und Als Heiler Und Wahrsager Zu Ruhm Gelangt If you love Dictator Novels you ll love this one.Also, there s just not that many long books I ve come across from the African Continent There s The City of God of course, but that s not really what we re talking about So of course you offer me an 800 page brick of a book from The Continent, sure, I m going to go after it And in a day and an age like this, if you reside in the USofA and you re curious about LeClair s call for a Rump Age novel, well, here you ll have a pretty good model to work from Because of course the problem is, How to write an over the top satire of Evil when Evil is already so over the top self satirizing given how RealPolitik concludes this novel however it s not all just a question of over the top Evil, but also of banal NeoEvil politics At any rate, to make a distinction, I find in my reading of BIG books there s a difference between the FAT and the simply long KittenSquisher Chunkster FAT is a lot of languagelanguagelanguage on a lot of pages Simply long etc of course is just a lot of pages, and if the book is good, a lot of storystorystory FAT is like Fado Alexandrino, only five hundred pages but two weeks of reading Long is a lot of what I ve been reading recently this, In the Eye of the Sun, We, the Drowned 800 pages, sure, but reads like a breeze, the reading mind forging ahead of the words rather than trailing behind trying to catch up with syntax with rhythms melodies jokes allusions FAT books usually elude your easily capturing the What I m About the long have a thesis readily stateable At any rate, whaddya know, when I opened my daily opening of aldaily, there right at the top was this piece on Ng g wa Thiong o How s that for timing Ng g wa Thiong o and the Tyranny of Language by Francis Wade Decolonise the mind Maya Jaggi applauds a vivid satire on an African kleptocracy from Ngugi wa Thiong o, Wizard of the Crow again The Strongman s Weakness By Jeff Turrentinehttps www.nytimes.com 2006 09 10 boAgain Reviewed Yes, that s right, fun You might be thinking a 700 page novel about an oppressed African nation from a professor of English literature who was himself exiled must be one of those highfalutin dutiful reads full of clever turns of phrase and onion layers of symbolism that you fight through like quicksand so that you can finally achieve some understanding of its Meaningful Message about the Human Experience, or maybe just feel self righteous for finishing it, right Well, let s just shelve that attitude right there Wizard of the Crow is part satire, part comedy, part farce, and wholly absurd It is an angry book, yes, but even at its most furious, it is never not funny what nr non Review would be complete without the complete review.the result is a surprisingly breezy read that s enormously entertaining and almost incidentally provides a broad picture of the African condition in the early 21st century. In Decolonising the Mind The Politics of Language in African Literature, Ngugi wa Thiong o complained that African neo colonial leaders behave so ridiculously that it s hard to satirise them similarly, my Dad recently quoted to me from an interview about Bremner Bird Fortune it s getting easier to make fun of politicians Lots of our later sketches mainly consisted of reading out government policy but he manages to do it here to painfully funny effect At the same time he completely demystifies power by revealing the thought processes of the Ruler and his scheming ministers.I remember reading in Decolonising the Mind about how his books were read by the Kenyan people he wanted to reach once he started writing in Gikuyu Since in many villages literacy was not widespread, literate folks would read aloud in public places like bars The whole time I was reading, I was imagining that space, where newcomers would need to ask questions and be appraised of background detail where someone would forget an earlier plot point and explanations would be necessary, where jokes were repeated and howled over, and where politics expanded into discussion.Of course, Ngugi wa Thiong o has translated his own book affirming his expression of hope in Decolonising the Mind that the art of translation would help him continue dialogue with people everywhere , so it s perfectly expressive, but the translated ness has its own interesting consequences for how the book s humour works More than that, it provokes me to mindfulness of the Kenyan village the knowledge that he wrote this book for the people there first, and for me last And I love this, that my gaze is the least relevant, the humblest In reading The Famished Road, I felt Ben Okri created an inhospitable surface to break the colonising gaze of Whiteness of course, that probably wasn t his intent at all , but in Wizard of the Crow there is no such disruptive confrontation I simply feel myself a benign eavesdropper listening at the back, hearing imperfectly, missing some references.On references though, Ngugi wa Thiong o doesn t assume much prior knowledge he takes care to contextualise and inform about things he wants to bring into the tale, like the Ramayana The experience he assumes familiarity with to play on is of living in a neo colonial state under the gaze of a one track international media He shows a lot of love to fellow writers, placing literature as a source of knowledge and wisdom among folktales, songs, proverbs and political analyses It s extra nice that African and Indian women novelists are mentioned in such a strongly feminist book, it s super of Ngugi to send the reader to hear from the horse s mouth The role of White Euro American influence, gaze and individuals is sent up exquisitely I particularly love this quote about an organized political process made by a group of women Some foreign diplomats laughed out loud, thinking that this was a humorous native dance, but when they saw that state officials and ministers were not laughing, they restrained themselves and assumed that, pornographic as the act might have seemed, it was actually a solemn native dance Some of the White people have ridiculous names sweet revenge Gabriel Gemstone is my favourite For all the broad strokes though it s full of subtlety The Ruler calls the Global Bank officials racists because they deny a loan request, but himself articulates all manner of vile anti Blackness.One of my students asked me what this book was about and I said it s about a very clever, brave woman and a very kind, spiritual man It s about so much than the central couple, but I love how they complement, balance and complete each other I also loved the ideas about renewal and healing in nature, self awareness, contemplation and visionary exploration I can honestly say that every time I opened this epic I entered book heaven It was never hard going, never dull, always delightful and enthralling.If there were no beggars in the streets, tourists might start doubting that Aburiria was an authentic African country the Ruler was baffled by anyone not motivated by greed he could never understand the type who talked of collective salvation instead of personal survival how was one supposed to deal with these recalcitrants a fisherman puts a work at the end of the line, but if the fish ignores it, how is the fisherman to catch the fish While I enjoyed the first part of this satire of political unrest, economic hypocrisy and social upheaval, I was distracted by too much going on too many pages, characters, sub stories, and Three hundred pages in and it was all so much, that I couldn t stay with Kamiti as he morphed from graduate student, to unemployed man, then homeless beggar, and then Wizard of the Crow I wondered if a few pages could have been edited out, the narrative arc tightened, and the country well, which African country is it, for Africa is too big a continent to tackle in one novel, as the blurb on my hardcover copy suggests Admittedly, I m a fan of Wa Thiong o s I found his memoir, Dreams in a Time of War A Childhood Memoir, singular and stunning Yet while I m grateful that he is a feminist who in his fictional plot has reminded me to reread African women writers like Emecheta and Dangaremgba, and to try Indian women writers like Arundhati Roy and Meena Alexander, I do think it best that I save this book until the time when I can truly appreciate its ambitious sprawl For now, I ll look for a shorter Thiong o read. Wizard of the CrowFROM THE BLURB Commencing in our times and set in the Free Republic of Aburlria, the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburirian people Among the contenders His High Mighty Excellency the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom the corrupt Christian Ministry and the nefarious Global Bank Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, Wizard of the Crow reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity To make sense of the book I had to list the characters as they appeared in this geopolitical satire There is a vast cast of characters, but the most important ones, including the main, as well as supporting personalities, are mentioned here 1 The angry Second Ruler of the Free Republic of Aburiria, the Father of the Nation,2 Rachel his wife locked up in solitary confinement3 His four sons Rueben Kucera three star general in the army Samwel Moya two star general Dickens Soi one star general Richard Runyenje army captain.They were all on the board of directors of several parastatals closely linked to foreign companies, particularly those involved in the exploration of oil and the mining of precious minerals They were also on several licensing boards.The chambers of the State house the walls and ceilingswere made from the skeletons of the students, teachers, workers, and small farmers he the Ruler had killed in all the regions of the country, for it was well known that he came into power with flaming swords, the bodies of his victims falling down to his left and right like banana trunks The skulls of his most hated enemies hung on the walls and others from the ceiling, bone sculptures, white memories of victory and defeat.4 Dr Wilfred Kaboca his personal physician,5 Markus Machokali Minister of Foreign Affairs cosmetically enlarged gigantic eyes, the size of electric bulbs to enable him to spot The Ruler s enemies, no matter where they hid The Ruler s Eye.6 Silver Sikiokuu Minister of State with the cosmetically enlarged ears, larger than a rabbit s, with which he could hear all conversations in the country M5, the spying ring, was under his directions The Ruler s Ear.7 Benjamin Mambo Minister of defense his tongue cosmetically elongated, looking like a dog s, so that he could echo the Ruler s commands to the soldiers, or threats to enemies before they could reach the borders of the country His new name would be Big Ben, now the minister of information, due to a slight misunderstanding with the cosmetic surgeon and the outcome of the surgery.8 Dr Yunice Immaculate Mgenzi formerly known as Dr Yunity Mgeuzi Bila Shaka second deputy to the amabassador in Washington Information officer read spy.8 Kam t wa Kar m ri Comet Kam t BA and MBA degreed, jobless, homeless and hungry, who would become the Wizard of the Crow9 Grace Engenethi Nyaw ra Member of the underground Movement for the Voice of the People.10 Her ex husband Kani r work as a teacher at the Ruler s Polytechnic at Eldares member of the Ruler s glorious youth wing.11 Dr Luminous Karamu Mbuya Itu ka The Ruler s biographer He was appointed to protect the country against malicious rumormongers, so called historians, and novelists, and to counter their lies and distortions The Ruler s biography , according to the Ruler, was the true history of the country One historian, who dared to publish a book called People Make History, Then Ruler Makes It His Story was jailed for ten years without trial, together with hundreds of political prisoners, and a few authors and journalists.12 Maritha and Mariko faithful church members of All Saints Church.13 Titus Tajirika Chairman of the Building Commitee Shook the Ruler s hand and decided never to wash the hand again CEO of the Eldares Modern Construction and Real Estate company.14 His wife Vinjinia His children three boys, two girls P.14015 Arigaigai Gathere A.G policemen who spun tales member of the special forces of the Ruler who was intent in capturing the Wizard of the Crow He would become an important narrator in the book.The nation s birthday gift to the Ruler, was the Marching to Heaven project Aburiria could now do what the Israelis could not do raise a building to the very gates of Heaven so that the Ruler could call on God daily to say good morning or good evening or simply how was your day today, God Minster Machokali was waxing ecstatic about how the benefits of the project could trickle down to all citizens Once the project was completed, no historian would ever again talk about any other wonders in the world, for the fame of this Modern House of Babel would dwarf the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Egyptian pyramids, the Astecan Tenochtitlan, or the Great Wall of China And who would ever talk about the Tah Mahal According to Minister Machokali, nothing would ever come close to this building such as had never seen before in human history,except once by the children of Israel, and even they had failed miserably to complete the House of Babel.Praise thundered down on the crowd at the Ruler s birthday bash Even the old men wanted to praise the Ruler, as one old senior citizen tried when it was his turn at the microphone view spoiler it was clear that he had difficulty in pronouncing Swahili words for the Ruler, Mtukufu Rais, calling out instead, Mtukutu Rahisi Horrified at the Ruler s being called a Cheap Excellency, one of the policeman quickly whispered in the old man s ear that the phrase was Mtukufu Rais or Rais Mtukufu, which confused him even Coughing and clearing his throat to himself, he called out into the microphone, Rahisi Mkundu Oh no, no, it is not Cheap Arsehole, the other policeman whispered in the other ear, no, no, it is His Holy Mightiness, Mtukufu Takatifu, which did not help matters because the old man said, with what the old man thought was confidence, Mkundu Takatifu At the mention of His Holy Arsehole, the multitude broke out in hilarious laughter, which made the old man forget what he wanted to say, and he stuck religiously to the phrase Rahisi Mkundu, which made Machokali quickly signal that he be removed from the microphone The old man did not understand why he was not being allowed to speak, and, as he was led back into the crowd, he let out a stream of Rahisi Mkundu, Mtukutu Takatifu Mtukutu, any combination of cheap and holy arsehole he thought might work, gesturing toward the Ruler as if begging for his divine intervention hide spoiler Absolutely epic A 900pp sprawling monster of a book that takes on colonisation, corruption, superstition, greed, social cultural problems and everything people use to screw each other up, all without ever losing hope or sight of a better way Translated by the Kenyan author from his native language It features a hero who accidentally becomes a postcolonial witch doctor, and a heroine whose urban efforts to resist the Daniel Arap Moi ish dictator take a turn Lots of turns are taken, as the farcical but terrifying Ruler and his team of lackeys all of them professing endless loyalty while eyeing the throne go through surreal contortions of abuse of power It is not a summarisable book Highlights include the sequence where a man holds an army camp not at gunpoint but at shit point really need to read it to get that one the incapacitating attacks of white ache suffered by the kleptocratic profiteers lost in longing for how much they could profit and how much power they could command if they were white the Ruler s announcement of a new policy of Corporonialism, or corporate colonialism, whichis happening now, oops A strongly feminist book with a powerful range of female characters and a crunching indictment of culturally mandated abuse of women, which models a terrific, mutually respectful relationship at the centre while allowing the MCs to be flawed A magnificent read, I loved it. About half way through the Wizard of the Crow the Ruler makes a trip to New York with his Ministers in order to try and persuade officials of the Global Bank to lend Aburiria the money to advance the nation s Marching to Heaven Project.The Ruler falls ill on the trip and his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Machokali, is forced to call the Wizard of the Crow to fly from to Aburiria New York to affect a cure.Machokali is worried that if the news ever leaked out that the Ruler was seeking the help of a Witch Doctor to cure his ills this would discredit the Ruler and the country of Aburiria in the eyes of the world It would show that Aburiria was a primitive and uneducated country, so backward that it s leaders still believed in magic and sorcery.Machokali has never before seen the Wizard of the Crow and begins to panic when it occurs to him that the Wizard might arrive at JFK Airport in full Witch Doctor dress naked except for his loin cloth and a couple of feathers perhaps and he curses himself for not thinking about this earlier Fortunately, as the reader but not Machokali is well aware, the Wizard of the Crow is quite the post modern Witch Doctor and tends to wear conservative suits rather than bangles and fetishes.This is Ng g wa Thiong o s little joke of course.As is well known American Republican Presidents are all too familiar with magic and sorcery, often having used them to help inform US government policy On the left, Joan Quigley in traditional dress, well known sorceress famous for reading the movements of the stars and planets to know the future adviser to President and Nancy Reagan On the right, Witch Doctor in traditional dress government policy adviser status unknown.President Reagan consulted experts in how the position of the stars and planets would decide the future when making important policy decisions.President Bush would often speak to an old man with a beard who lives in the sky before deciding whether or not to invade other countries Vice President Pence believes that President Trump is God s tool on earth and that if all the Jewish people return to Israel this will be the cause of an enormous battle between God and Satan and their angels and devils which will bring about the end of the world and the return of a prophet who has all the powers of the strongest Witch Doctor ever The GOP and its donors are actively directing US policy towards this aim.Neither the Ruler nor Machokali nor the Wizard of the Crow need have had any embarrassment at using magic, sorcery, prayer or pretty much any supernatural powers at the highest levels of the Aburirian government as the GOP has been doing the same at the highest levels of the American government for decades Very funny, Mr Thiong o. I have a thing for books that create their own mythologies, and Wizard of the Crow has risen to the top of that list Set in a fictional African country, this novel takes a serious romp through a stretch of land containing a Postcolonial dictatorship at odds with its people, hysterically played out through a young couple claiming to be The Wizard of the Crow, a sorcerer capable of knowing even The Ruler s deepest secret, the guilt of white envy, by divination through a mirror I realize this review sounds like bad jacket copy, and fails to capture even the slightest amount of subtlety, truth, or the vast geopolitical landscape at work here This is an amazing book, and like so many of the best, is funny and sad simultaneously There is a wonderful kind of magical realism at work here, a world I was happy to occupy while reading it, one that often seemed real than the political surrealism we re surrounded with everyday. In the life of a bookworm, there s no greater feeling than finishing a chunker of a book and ending up enjoying it immensely It s also rare to encounter a tale that is so unconventional and new that is must be described as a revelation I am incredibly happy that I finally got around to reading Wizard of the Crow by Ng g wa Thiong o I was reminded of this book last fall when I attended a lecture of Ng g s son Since then I ve been dying to pick up his work To understand African literature, when you re coming from a Western point of view, it is important to keep the social and political context of the stories at hand in mind Personally, I was not very knowledgeable when it came to Kenya as a country and its government and people before jumping into this book However, having done some research now, I think it is absolutely quintessential to at least know the bare structure of Ng g s life and what he suffered through to become the writer he is today History, particularly African history, was the scene of many crimes with many conflicting witnesses In 1977, Ng g embarked upon a new form of theatre in Kenya that sought to liberate the theatrical process from what he held to be the general bourgeois education system , by encouraging spontaneity and audience participation in the performances In 1978, one of his theatre productions was shut down by the authoritarian Kenyan regime and Ng g was subsequently imprisoned for over a year Adopted as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, the artist was released from prison, and fled Kenya.On 8 August 2004, Ng g returned to Kenya as part of a month long tour of East Africa On 11 August, robbers broke into his high security apartment they assaulted Ng g , sexually assaulted his wife and stole various items of value It is in this grim context that we must place the late writing stages of Wizard of the Crow and its publication in the US in the summer of 2006 After his imprisonment, 30 years earlier, Ng g decided that all of his creative writing would be in Gikuyu, his mother tongue He is one of the few African writers who break with the tradition of writing in the language of the coloniser The original Gikuyu edition of Wizard of the Crow has sold well in local terms 1,500 copies within a year, some read aloud in bars and matatus a local type of taxi.It is important to note that this book joins other Kenyan tales as told by local people In contrast to the Western written tradition, the African tradition of storytelling is an oral one There aren t many scene settings or descriptions to be found in this text it almost reads like a screen play A lot of the action is advanced through dialogue rather than through description In Ng g s own words Multi narrative lines and multi viewpoints unfolding at different times and spaces replace the linear temporal unfolding of the plot from a single viewpoint It s interesting to note that there is a wide net of many different characters, none of which are important than another This story doesn t have a single protagonist, all POVs are woven equally into the narrative Everyone is weighing in and giving their perspective on the happenings of the story But this is not a typical story that may be told around a camp fire, this is a book about choosing sides It is a piece of activism that calls out to the people in Africa to rise up and demand better governing In this way, the form and structure of the book really mirror Ng g s intention He stresses that in African societies only one viewpoint is allowed that of the Ruler Ng g breaks with that tradition by giving everyone a voice in his story Beggars, police officers, women everyone s voice is raised up The story is set in the imaginary Free Republic of Abur ria, autocratically governed by one man, known only as the Ruler a character which is most likely modelled after modelled after Daniel arap Moi, former Kenyan politician who served as the second President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002 Through popular agitation and external pressures, he was forced to allow multiparty elections in 1991 he led his party, KANU, to victory in the 1992 and 1997 elections The Ruler is destroying the country due to his complete disregard of the people he governs Standing in opposition to him is the Movement for the Voice of the People with Nyaw ra as their leader.In the first part of this story, the ruler decrees that a great monument shall be build in his honor He envisions a staircase to heaven a building that will be so tall that he will be able to communicate with God himself A monument that shall outshine the pyramids and the Great Wall of China The project is given the name Marching to Heaven and is often referred to as a modern Tower of Babel In general, there is a lot of Christian symbolism in this story as Kenya s population is in majority of Christian faith, even though Ng g himself rejects the religion of the colonizer.The Ruler, however, has one problem he doesn t have any money to build this monument, so he has to ask the Global Bank for a loan Much of the story preoccupies itself with the Ruler and his ministers trying to get that money, whilst also trying to stay on top with all of the petty and deceitful in fighting going on within the government It s about the rivalry between the ministers it is a tale in which everyone s singing the Ruler s praises by day and plotting a downfall by night It is a tale of corruption and the horrible truths behind postcolonial African governments The new leaders, just because their skin color had changed, their outlook on how to govern had not Ng g shows the problem the mess, really that African governments have put their people in, by only having their own interest in mind The Ruler famously declares Every Abur rian child knows that I am the Country and the Country is Me He forbids criticism in any shape or form When his wife challenges him after finding out that he is having sex with young school girls and thus is impacting the future of the country in a negative way, the Ruler imprisons her in a house where time literally stands still His wife is only allowed to wear the same clothes and eat the same food of the day she dared to question him Throughout the narrative, however, it becomes clear that the Ruler isn t as much in control as he wants to be he doesn t control he Voice of the People, the Global Bank and Western governments, his own health and he, in fact, does not control his wife s tears, who refuses to break down and give him that satisfaction Go Rachael Ng g also shows that the masses of the people are the ones who have to suffer and pay the price for their inept government Just to give you a taste of Kenyan governmental priorities In January 2018, there was a terrible fire in Nairobi during which at least 6000 people lost their homes The fire engines that came quickly ran out of water and there was no way to successfully stop the fire The government refused to take on any blame, claiming that they couldn t do anything because there was no water In the same month, the police repeatedly dispersed protests of the people with water hoses And guess what They never ran out of water So, there is no water to protect the people, their lives and their properties but plenty of water to try to disperse people who are opposing the government Tajirika s rot proved terrible than any that I had experienced before a black man celebrating the negation of himself Ng g also gives an answer to how African countries got into the mess that there in To sum it up in one word colonialism Through the fictional illness of white ache , Ng g depicts the struggle and internal conflict that many African politicians want to be white , they want to adhere to the Western standard, they want to become rich They change their Gikuyu names for English ones so Tajirika becomes Titus , they negate their mother tongues for the language of the colonizer Ng g s portrayal of Western media and governments is harsh but fair ignorant vultures who are just in it for their own advantages in the form of resources We are trying to imagine a different future for Abur ria after the people united take power from these ogres So where do we go from here Through the characters of Kam t and Nyaw ra, who both pose as the Wizard of the Crow, the self proclaimed postcolonial witch doctor , Ng g transports the message that is closest to his heart Black people should unite their forces and their values, and go back to the old ways, before colonialism corrupted the country Ng g is well aware that not everything was nice and shiny back then, and certain values should be replaced by progressive ones especially when it comes to the position of women in society but Africa will gain nothing by letting the West rob them of their resources, while being preoccupied with petty tribal fights and self destruction from within He critiques colonialism as having destroyed a culture and the spirit of the people It s not just white people who know logic We too have logic, black logic found in our proverbs He wants African to rediscover the value of their roots The condition of women in a nation is the real measure of its progress I especially liked that his story was so focused on giving everyone a voice and improving the life of all the people Wizard of the Crow is probably one of the most progressive and feminist texts of the postcolonial era that I ever read Ng g is very outspoken on the rights of women The silence of women in the face of male violence is the nursemaid of violence , Rape is rape, even when done by A friend or a husband and his story features many strong female characters not just women who are politically active like Nyaw ra, but also wives and daughters, who oppose the patriarchal structures of their homes He calls out toxic masculinity Violence against women bedevils many a home rich, poor, white, balck, religious In the world today, a husband measures his maleness by mauling his wife and the danger is poses when men measure their greatness by the weakness of women Overall, he takes a very firm stand against domestic violence and advocates for the equality of all genders Wizard of the Crow has a bittersweet ending, one in which there is a regime change that ends up being not much of a change at all Even if you wrap it up in the mantle of something that you call democracy , the plight of the people remains the same And even though Nyaw ra and Kam t no longer pose as the Wizard of the Crow, they continue to be politically active within the Movement of the Voice of the People Anything pointing to people being able to unite across race and ethnic lines is suppressed so that people may not realize the sources of their strength and power Even though Ng g gives the solution to the problems he sees with current African governments, their implementation is easier written down than actually carried out The idea of a one nation state with one language is a colonial concept If Ng g wants African countries to go back to the pre colonial era, the problem of petty in fights between tribes still remains Further, apart from the language of the colonizer there isn t a dominant tribal language in most African countries Even in Ng g s case, writing in Gikuyu does indeed separate the novel from its colonial past, however, the Gikuyu tribe is currently in power in Kenya whilst other tribes are at a disadvantage So the question arises if you can unify people if they don t have a common language And should one tribe assume power over another All in all, Wizard of the Crow is a thought provoking tale that I will never forget for the rest of my life It is such an important document of Africa s postcolonial history It is an incredibly well written political satire, that will make you laugh and cry at the same time I will leave you with a quintessential quote from the beginning of the book I am human, I am a human being, a soul, and not a piece of garbage, no matter how poor and ragged I look, and I deserve respect. There are quite a few legends in this world One of the oldest tells of how the people of Babylon decided to build a tower all the way up to Heaven But to no one s great surprise, The Lord disapproved, and not only did he tear the tower down but by making everyone speak different languages he also made sure that nothing like it would ever happen again.Bah humbug, says the dictator of the compleeetely fictional African country of Aburiria really, it has absolutely nothing to do with wa Thiong o s native Kenya Really He s ruled the country with an iron fist almost since the day the English left, he s both the ruler and the lord of everyone, and nobody s going to tell him that there are limits to his power No, he s going to build a modern Tower of Babel and march all the way to the stars to show the world that Africa can do things the West can t even imagine All he needs to get it going is to a use both whips and carrots to convince the people that this is much important than nonsense such as democracy, jobs and food, and b convince the World Bank to finance it since Aburiria doesn t actually have much money of its own How difficult can it be Thanks to the English language there s a common lingua franca again, just like back in the day, and in these neo colonialist days borrowing money shouldn t be a problem as long as you re prepared to pay interest As one character notes, it s funny how independence came to mean dependence But of course, the Ruler hasn t taken the wizard of the book s title into account Which is one of the few things he can be excused for, since the wizard hasn t taken himself into account either he s just an out of work academic who, while running from the police together with a woman from the resistance, makes up a story based on an old folk tale to make himself scarier than he really is But before he knows it, the legend of the magic of the crow has spread and everyone politicians, businessmen and the huddled masses want his help to get ahead in the world And somewhere around that time the magic, which began as a hoax, starts to gather real power.wa Thiong o s huge novel has enough dashes of magical realism and modern day fairytale to be compared to both M rquez and Rushdie as indeed it has , but for my part, I keep thinking that this is like an African take on Bulgakov s The Master And Margarita It s got the same wildly disrespectful and bawdy sense of humour, coupled with a pissed off, clear sighted social critique that seems to want to kick over the whole damn tower of power hunger, nepotism, sexism, racism and faceless structures, all set to notes of both ancient myths and modern thinking that sometimes collides wildly and sometimes fuses into something completely new.For a parallel, consider this A somewhat younger legend than the Tower of Babel concerns Great Zimbabwe, the very real and ancient stone city in Southern Africa, which the newly colonized Africans back in the day claimed to be have been built by their ancestors Their new rulers, of course, laughed at this idea even when their own archaelogists confirmed it since the white race was superior, something this big must have been built by white people, ergo they were simply reclaiming their rights to rule Africa The logic of the victorious can often seem a bit weird in hindsight, when all the evidence has been twisted to serve the purpose of the one with the power to enforce his interpretation on others.Aburiria is clearly based on Kenya and the Ruler on Daniel Arap Moi, but Wizard of the Crow is bigger than that it s a furious satire on all sorts of oppression, whether based on political, economical or physical power, and the Ruler echoes both Pinochet, Honecker and Putin The West uses Africa, whose dictators use the military and police to use the people, where the men turn to the only outlet that remains and use the women Lick up, kick down, shit flows downhill wa Thiong o constantly plays around with language hardly a surprise, since he was one of the first African writers to refuse to write in English and instead write in his native tongue something which cost him a year in jail and eventually exile when the regime didn t like what he wrote The value of language seeps through everything here all old sayings, Bible verses, and English platitudes are twisted by those in power until the language itself becomes a trap the powerless must find their way out of In one scene, our hero remembers an old girlfriend who told him the story of how Jesus asked his disciples to become fishers of men only to spot her on a street corner in a miniskirt, wasting away from HIV, still fishing for men On a lighter note, there s a misquote of Descartes that eventually turns into a linguistic virus that almost overthrows the government by itself And the way out turns out to be through storytelling the legend of the people s wizard, who can hold up a mirror and change the world, causing those in power to panic and become ever paranoid Just like in Bulgakov everything turns upside down, roles reverse and re reverse, laughter goes from the bitter to the uproarious and back wa Thiong o s language is a fantastic mix of colourful folk tale and modern novel, complex without being too complicated, hilarious without dropping its serious undertone, and it s one of the most rewarding novels I ve read all year At 768 pages it might be a bit longer than it needs to be, but even the bits that aren t strictly necessary are simply too much fun to want gone.The world keeps creating new legends, and they don t necessarily need to be true to be strong enough to tear down towers One of the newest is about an African grass roots movement where men and women work as equals, unite old truths with education and new ideas and only demand to control their own future I don t know how true that one is or can be, but it makes a cracking good read.
Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers After imprisonment in 1978, Ng g abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity ha
- 944 pages
- Mũrogi wa Kagogo
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- 13 January 2019 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o