When I think of the word “imagination” no one jumps to mind faster than Ngugi wa Thiong’o. It is obvious that Ngugi believes in it. Indeed, he has been publishing for over 50 years, this is not a mean feat by any standards. He is a Kenyan novelist, scholar, playwright, perhaps the most decorated one in Eastern Africa.
Ngugi’s imagination was limited to his creative writings. His imagination was a form of resistance, and voice that was constantly heard in a harsh political environment during the late 70’s in Kenya. Ngugi was arrested in 1977 after writing the play Ngaahika Ndeenda ( I Will Marry When I Want)
His imagination still lived on even while detained in the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison where he wrote the first modern novel in Gikuyu, his native language, Devil on the Cross, on prison-issued toilet paper.
After his release in 1978, he was forced to live in exile together with family due to his writings that potrayed the injustices of the dictatorial government at the time.
Ngugi’s imagination and beliefs were rooted in Kenyan Independence from the British and the right of the people to live on their own terms.
Ngugi was against the trend that British Settlers took over the land and resources, hauling native Kenyans to give up their culture and replace it with theirs.
Ngugi used his imagination to decolonize his own mind, renaming his baptismal name, James, and denouncing Christianity.
Ngugi’s imagination has been an inspiration to many Kenyans and the whole world at large, with his works translated into over 130 languages from around the world. His most famous novels are Weep not Child(1964), The River Between(1965), and Petals of Blood(1977)
His life is an embodiment of the power of imagination. As I write this, I implore you to ask yourself: What can your imagination can do for you and the people around you? Use tags #Imagine #Believe
Written by Amos Bungei