Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance

  • Title: Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance
  • Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • ISBN: 9780465009466
  • Page: 210
  • Format: Paperback
  • Something Torn and New An African Renaissance Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong o has been a force in African literature for decades Since the s when he gave up the English language to commit himself to writing in African languages his foremost conc
    Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong o has been a force in African literature for decades Since the 1970s, when he gave up the English language to commit himself to writing in African languages, his foremost concern has been the critical importance of language to culture In Something Torn and New, Ngugi explores Africa s historical, economic, and cultural fragmentation by slavery, cNovelist Ngugi wa Thiong o has been a force in African literature for decades Since the 1970s, when he gave up the English language to commit himself to writing in African languages, his foremost concern has been the critical importance of language to culture In Something Torn and New, Ngugi explores Africa s historical, economic, and cultural fragmentation by slavery, colonialism, and globalization Throughout this tragic history, a constant and irrepressible force was Europhonism the replacement of native names, languages, and identities with European ones The result was the dismemberment of African memory.Seeking to remember language in order to revitalize it, Ngugi s quest is for wholeness Wide ranging, erudite, and hopeful, Something Torn and New is a cri de coeur to save Africa s cultural future.

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      210 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
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    About Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o


    1. 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 has been a central issues in a great deal of Ng g s writings Ng g wa Thiong o was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru, Kiambu District, as the fifth child of the third of his father s four wives At that time Kenya was under British rule, which ended in 1963 Ng g s family belonged to the Kenya s largest ethnic group, the Gikuyu His father, Thiong o wa Nducu, was a peasant farmer, who was forced to become a squatter after the British Imperial Act of 1915 Ng g attended the mission run school at Kamaandura in Limuru, Karinga school in Maanguu, and Alliance High School in Kikuyu During these years Ng g became a devout Christian However, at school he also learned about the Gikuyu values and history and underwent the Gikuyu rite of passage ceremony Later he rejected Christianity, and changed his original name in 1976 from James Ng g , which he saw as a sign of colonialism, to Ng g wa Thiong o in honor of his Gikuyu heritage After receiving a B.A in English at Makerere University College in Kampala Uganda in 1963, Ng g worked briefly as a journalist in Nairobi He married in 1961 Over the next seventeen years his wife, Nyambura, gave birth to six children In 1962 Ng g s play THE BLACK HERMIT was produced in Kampala In 1964 he left for England to pursue graduate studies at the Leeds University in England.The most prominent theme in Ng g s early work was the conflict between the individual and the community As a novelist Ng g made his debut with WEEP NOT, CHILD 1964 , which he started to write while he was at school in England It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African author Ng g used the Bildungsroman form to tell the story of a young man, Njoroge He loses his opportunity for further education when he is caught between idealistic dreams and the violent reality of the colonial exploitation THE RIVER BETWEEN 1965 had as its background the Mau Mau Rebellion 1952 1956 The story was set in the late 1920s and 1930s and depicted an unhappy love affair in a rural community divided between Christian converts and non Christians A GRAIN OF WHEAT 1967 marked Ng g s break with cultural nationalism and his embracing of Fanonist Marxism Ng g refers in the title to the biblical theme of self sacrifice, a part of the new birth unless a grain of wheat die The allegorical story of one man s mistaken heroism and a search for the betrayer of a Mau Mau leader is set in a village, which has been destroyed in the war The author s family was involved in the Mau Mau uprising Ng g s older brother had joined the movement, his stepbrother was killed, and his mother was arrested and tortured Ng g s village suffered in a campaign.In the 1960s Ng g was a reporter for the Nairobi Daily Nation and editor of Zuka from 1965 to 1970 He worked as a lecturer at several universities at the University College in Nairobi 1967 69 , at the Makerere University in Kampala 1969 70 , and at the Northwestern University in Evanston in the United States 1970 71 Ng g had resigned from his post at Nairobi University as a protest against government interference in the university, be he joined the faculty in 1973, becoming an associate professor and chairman of the department of literature It had been formed in response to his and his colleagues criticism of English the British government had made in the 1950s instruction in English mandatory Ng g had asked in an article, written with Taban lo Liyong and Henry Owuor Anyumba, If there is need for a s


    582 Comments


    1. As a site of concentration of both domination and resistance, South Africa mirrored the worldwide struggles between capital and labor and between the colonizer and the colonized. For Africa, let's face it, South African history--from Vasco de Gama's landing at the Cape in 1498 to its liberation in 1994--frames all modern social struggles, and certainly black struggles. If the struggle, often fought with swords, between racialized capital and racialized labor was about wealth and power, it was al [...]

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    2. The full Review is here:booksundertheneemtree/2013Technically, this is a set of lectures by Professor Thiong’o on African renaissance and languages. The author presents the case for writing in African languages and the pride of African names. Also, there is a great discussion on what is needed for an African Renaissance. You would expect this to be a tedious read, but quite the contrary. In fact, I read this book in approx. two days.Whenever writing in African languages is mentioned, the first [...]

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    3. Habla de lo que fue ese desmembramiento para Africa que trajo la colonización: La creación de la diáspora a través de la trata de esclavos, y la Balkanisation de Africa a través de la conferencia de Berlin 1884-85 En el acto de re-membering, algo así como un 'decolonial task', pone énfasis a su caballito de batalla que es el lenguage, como lo hace también en "Decolonising the mind the politics of language in African literature". Su comparación entre el surgimiento de renacimiento en Eur [...]

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    4. Beautiful, fascinating, and deeply important. A straightforward read with really important things to say.

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    5. In Something Torn and New, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o looks back at the loss of African language and culture caused by European colonisation and compares the dominance of the English, French and Portuguese languages in African schools and African literature with the use of Latin in Europe during the Dark Ages. Language is linked to memory and to identity, Ngũgĩ argues, and the loss of African languages sends the rich cultural history of past African civilisations to oblivion, planting European memory [...]

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    6. This is one of those books I do not finish reading. After a few pages, I was hooked; but then the narration kept going on and on about one thing, tautology at its worst. The rhetoric is good, but then on page 63 there is 'forced into a crypt, the African in the diaspora tries to break out of the crypt, and grasps whatever African memory he can reach, to invent a new reality ' and I stopped reading, completely, trashed it.Apart from feeling like enthroning Pan-Africanism on himself in the book ( [...]

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    7. A smart and engaging discussion. I give it a 3.75. I'd rate it higher if Ngugi had recognized the overwhelming presence/influence of Toni Morrison on his thinking. His ideas about re-membering, the role of the ancestors, the haunting of colonial peoples by Africa's past, and the ways in which African and African Americans "haunt" Anglo texts were discussed in full in Morrison's _Beloved_, _Playing in the Dark_, and "Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation." It has to be a deliberate choice as Ngu [...]

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    8. wa Thiongo continues the discussion of the use of language to decolonize the mind and re-member the past with the present. The African renaissance can be assisted by reclamation and use of African languages and translation of literature from European languages to African languages. I became sensitized to my own reactions to reading English coming from a Black ethnic culture, understood my conflicted resentment of a language that connects black with so much negativity while simultaneously loving [...]

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    9. Ngũgĩ places language in the centre of a renaissance that he thinks is necessary- a re-membering of Africa- a restoration of the continent's memory driven by its keepers of memory: writers, musicians, artists, etc.; given impetus through both writing and translating; and enabled by enlightened governments. He shows how the English language and education were primary means of the erasure of Irish memory; and how the European renaissance came about with the development of European vernacular lan [...]

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    10. This is his book on why African authors should write in their native languages. He links language to memory and talks about "re-membering" as the opposite of "dismemberment" -- ie. that which happened to Afridan cultures under colonialism. One really interesting thing is the way that he compares the colonization of the Irish and their language with that of African countries and languages. Many very beautiful ideas. Wonderfully written.

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    11. Awesome book, lots of good metaphors and way to look at language, some of his theory and ways of framing issues are a bit odd but still good

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