Decolonising The Mind Ngugi Analysis

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“Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature”, written by the Kenyan writer and post colonist theorist, presents the personal testimony of an author who has fought a long battle of his own to undo the colonization of his mind. Decolonising the Mind can be called as Ngugi’s contribution to the debate on the choice of language in a post-colonial country. In this book he argues that Africa will be able to break free from the clutches of Western control over its resources and culture only when the use of European languages is replaced by native languages. At the same time the book presents a historical analysis of imperialism and underdevelopment; and of the use of language as an instrument of subversion of personal…show more content…
It is also a book on the historical development of orature and literature in Africa. Finally, it is an essay in literary theory and criticism on the role of the artist in society. While Ngugi writes about Africa, his analysis applies to all the Third World.He begins with a personal statement: “in 1971 I published Petals of Blood and said farewell to the English language as a vehicle of my writing of plays, novels and short stories… however, I continued writing explanatory prose in English…This book, Decolonising the Mind is my farewell to English as a vehicle for any of my writings. From now on it is Gikuyu and Kiswahili all the way”

Ngugi discusses the way language is a carrier of culture and how the use of a foreign language alienates an individual from his/her own culture. Ngugi explores how alienation from one’s native culture is accompanied with a hatred for it, and a reverence for the
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The work also mentions how the colonizer came armed with Bible and the gun. The speakers of local languages were made to feel ashamed of their own languages. However, to do this, they themselves became masters of African languages, reducing them to writing and authoring the first ever dictionaries and grammars in these languages. They talked to the colonies being oral culture and yet put the Christian Bible in unlimited quantities in even the tiniest African language. The language of the colonizer became the language of education and culture, and of institutions of governance. Thereby, the colonized were denied “control of their tool and self-definition.” They were disassociated from their history-carried-in-language; and they are disallowed a role in making their own history in the present. There was an “epistemological break” that made reflection on their own lives impossible which lead to the dulling sensibilities and to the loss of creativity.

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o makes the call to African writers to begin writing literature in their own languages, and to make sure that literature is connected to their people’s revolutionary struggles for liberation from their (neo) colonial contexts. Echoing Fanon, he claims that this amalgam makes writers most dangerous to colonial powers, when they begin to speak to the

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