Friday, August 16, 2019

The Struggle for Freedom in Ngugi Wa Thiongo The Trial Of Dedan Kimathi and The Black Hermit


1.1       Background to the Study
The struggle for freedom, as one of the major themes in African literary works, is the question of moving the centre, from the stage of subjugation and oppression to the stage of self-discovery, control and power regained from colonialism.Freedom, in this context, denotes the state of not being under control and influence of colonialism and Imperialism of western cultures. It is the state of realization of self; the state of political and social power gained collectively.

According to Ngugi wa Thiong’o, western imperialism colonizing efforts in the last four hundred years have led to a situation where world cultures have been dominated by a handful of western nations. The west, according to the author, has come to see itself as the centre of the universe. Cultural power, just as much as political and economic power is controlled at this faux centre. In the author’s connection: “moving the centre; the struggle for freedom”, the centre in two senses-between nation and within nations contributes to the freeing of the world cultures from the restrictive walls of nationalism, class, race and gender. The author believes that moving the centre in these ways is a crucial step in the struggle for true cultural freedom throughout the world, in order to correct the “imbalances of the last four hundred years of Euro centric domination”.

Ngugi Wa Thiongo remains one of the most influential African writers, especially in the area of struggle for freedom in Kenya. The author’s concerns for the country were portrayed in his numerous writings which aimed at librating the masses and peasant farmers from the oppression of the whites the first aim of struggle in librating African were political independence. Ngugi saw this as the only first step toward total liberation. According to the author’s the under privilege suffer from political leadership of the whites, in which their lands and properties are denied. To this ends, the only way out of this, is a revolt which he explains in the trials of Dedan Kimathi, and a need to reject westernization and embrace Africanization for the sake of freedom, as expressed in The Black Hermit. The study is aimed at establishing the fact that struggle for freedom had its antecedents and was worth fighting for.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Most African writers have centered their writings on the idea of struggle for freedom and independence. This is true when considering early literary works in Africa. Not only that these writers are displaying their anger and agitation against the effects of colonialism, but also that they make revolutionary attempts to underrate the values of Western cultures while extolling the African heritage. This, according to them, is the spirit of every freedom fighter.

The issue of revolution and fight for freedom is discussed in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and The Black Hermit. These works are a replica of revolutionary attempt of Kenya’s to end discrimination, oppression and subjugation melted out by the whites and even some Black leaders. Several movements have emanated as a result of this unequal relationship; Negritude, Apartheid, is a few of such movements. With this ideology as a bankdrop, Wa Thiongo set out two dramatic works to address the issue of segregation, oppression and deliminization that led to the struggle for freedom in 1960s for Nigeria and Kenya. The problem is not whether or not, there was a struggle and resolutions, but the extent to which these struggles led to freedom and independence of African nations like Kenya.

The question of absolute ethnic, political and economic freedom forms the problem of this research. The research work seeks to unravel the different revolution attempts by the “Mau – Mau” fighters like Dedan Kimathi and other freedom fighters in bringing about freedom in the 1960s. the theme of freedom therefore, dominates in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and The Black Hermit, with the question of whether or not, there was really freedom for the Kenyans.

1.3       Purpose of the Study
The study aims at examining revolutionary features in Ngugi Wa Thiongo and Micere Mugo’s The trial of Dedan  Kimathi and Ngugi’s  the black hermit to show the contributions of literature to the revolutionary struggle of the Africans and Kenyans (Eastern African) in particular, towards liberating themselves from oppression.
1.      The study shall also investigate the drives for every struggle for independence irrespective of countries.
2.      The study shall contribute to other works that discusses theme of freedom and independence in African literature researches on related area.      
3.      The study shall help literature teachers in exposing the students to the concept and spirit of freedom fighters.
4.      The students would not be left out as theirs is to have clear sources for their researches on related area.

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