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.