Atlantic Monthly

Kenya’s Ethnic Spin-Cycle

Today Jendayi Frazer, the top US diplomat for African affairs, rendered a grim assessment of the post-election bloodbath in Kenya, saying it amounted to “ethnic cleansing,” but not “genocide.”  This distinction is so fine as to be described as “Talmudic,” except that it contains no ancient Hebraic wisdom or indeed any other system of thought.

Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora

Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1938–)


Ngugi wa Thiong’o has led Kenyan struggles for literary and political autonomy for more than four decades. A writer and critic from the Gikuyu ethnic group, he is best known for historical novels depicting crises in Kenya’s quest for independence, from the Mau-Mau rebellion of the 1950s to the semidictatorial regime of Daniel Arap Moi that ended in 2002. Ngugi’s insistence on writing in African languages and his ideas about the place of culture and literature in postcolonial societies have influenced writers throughout Africa and beyond.