Search:     SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2020
Manthia Diawara
83 minutes
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Who's Afraid of Ngugi?

Novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist Ngugi wa Thiong'o was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. In 1977 his novel Petals of Blood was published to critical acclaim. The novel painted a harsh and unsparing picture of life in neo-colonial Kenya. Sharply critical of the inequalities and injustices of Kenyan society, publicly identified with unequivocally championing the cause of ordinary Kenyans, and committed to communicating with them in the languages of their daily lives, Ngugi was arrested and imprisoned without charge at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison at the end of the year, December 31, 1977. After Amnesty International named him a Prisoner of Conscience, an international campaign secured his release a year later, December 1978. The Moi regime’s plot to eliminate him forced him into exile for 22 years.

This documentary follows acclaimed author Ngugi wa Thiong'o as he and his political activist wife Njeri journey back to Kenya after years of exile. As they are welcomed home by joyous and hopeful crowds, they also must cope with those who still find their revolutionary words and deeds threatening.

"This film allows us to experience the political problems that face Kenyans"
- Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah

A useful film for descussions of African literature, post-colonial literature and experiences, the challenges facing exiled authors, and the politics of language.
- Martha Kelehan, Educational Media Review Online (EMRO)

  • Jury Special Mention, Zanzibar International Film Festival, 2007

  • Screenings
  • New African Film Festival, AFI, Washington D.C., 2006

    Manthia Diawara
    83 minutes
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