Ngugi Wa Thiongo Quotes

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#1. I believe that black has been oppressed by white; female by male; peasant by landlord; and worker by lord of capital. It follows from this that the black female worker and peasant is the most oppressed. She is oppressed on account of her color like all black people in the world; she is oppressed on account of her gender like all women in the world; and she is exploited and oppressed on account of her class like all workers and peasants in the world. Three burdens she has to carry.
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#2. Then, only then, would the kingdom of man and woman really begin, joying and loving in creative labour.
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#3. There are some people, be they black or white, who don't want others to rise above them. They want to be the source of all knowledge and share it piecemeal to others less endowed. That is what's wrong with all these carpenters and men who have a certain knowledge. It is the same with rich people.
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#4. In any case how many took the oath and are now licking the toes of the whiteman?No, you take an oath to confirm a choice already made. The decision to lay or not lay your life for the people lies in the heart. The oath is the water sprinkled on a man's head at baptism
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#5. Belief in yourself is more important than endless worries of what others think of you. Value yourself and others will value you. Validation is best that comes from within.
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#6. Berlin of 1884 was effected through the sword and the bullet. But the night of the sword and the bullet was followed by the morning of the chalk and the blackboard. The physical violence of the battlefield was followed by the psychological violence of the classroom. But where the former was visibly brutal, the latter was visibly gentle … The bullet was the means of physical subjugation. Language was the means of the spiritual subjugation.
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#7. This land used to yield. Rains used not to fail. What happened?' inquired Ruoro. It was Muturi who answered. 'You forget that in those days the land was not for buying. It was for use. It was also plenty, you need not have beaten one yard over and over again.
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#8. Your own actions are a better mirror of your life than the actions of all your enemies put together.
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#9. The condition of women in a nation is the real measure of its progress.
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#10. The Pan-Africanism that envisaged the ideal of wholeness was gradually cut down to the size of a continent, then a nation, a region, an ethnos, a clan, and even a village in some instances But Pan-Africanism has not outlived its mission. Seen as an economic, political, cultural, and psychological re-membering vision, it should continue to guide remembering practices
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#11. As she stared at them, Waringa noted that their skins were indeed red, like that of pigs or like the skin of a black person who has been scalded with boiling water or who has burned himself with acid creams. Even the hair in their arms and necks stood out stiff and straight like the bristle of an aging hog.
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#12. Life, struggle, even amidst pain and blood and poverty, seemed beautiful.
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#13. How does a writer, a novelist, shock his readers by telling them that these are neo-slaves when they themselves, the neo-slaves, are openly announcing the fact on the rooftops? How do you shock your readers by pointing out that these are mass murderers, looters, robbers, thieves, when they, the perpetrators of these anti-people crimes, aren't even attempting to hide the fact? When in some cases they are actually and proudly celebrating their massacre of children, and the theft and robbery of the nation? How do you satirise their utterances and claims when their own words beat all fictional exaggerations?
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#14. Language as communication has three aspects or elements. There first what Karl Marx once called the language of real life, the element basic to the whole notion of language, its origins and development: that is, the relations people enter into with one another in the labour process, the links they necessarily establish among themselves in the act of a people, a community of human beings, producing wealth or means of life like food, clothing, houses. A human community really starts its historical being as a community of co-operation in production through the division of labour; the simplest is between man, woman and child within a household; the more complex divisions are between branches of production such as those who are sole hunters, sole gatherers of fruits or sole workers in metal. Then there are the most complex divisions such as those in modern factories where a single product, say a shirt or a shoe, is the result of many hands and minds. Production is co-operation, is communication, is language, is expression of a relation between human beings and it is specifically human.
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#15. Stories, like food, lose their flavor if cooked in a hurry.
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#16. Written words can also sing.
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#17. Being is one thing; becoming aware of it is a point of arrival by an awakened consciousness and this involves a journey.
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#18. The Whiteman told of another country beyond the sea where a powerful woman sat on a throne while men and women danced under the shadow of her authority and benevolence. She was ready to spread the shadow to cover the Agikuyu. They laughed at this eccentric man whose skin had been so scalded that the black outside had peeled off. The hot water must have gone into his head.

Nevertheless, his words about a woman on the throne echoed something in the heart, deep down in their history. It was many, many years ago. Then women ruled the land of the Agikuyu. Men had no property, they were only there to serve the whims and needs of the women. Those were hard years. So they waited for women to go to war, they plotted a revolt, taking an oath of secrecy to keep them bound each to each in the common pursuit of freedom. They would sleep with all the women at once, for didn't they know the heroines would return hungry for love and relaxation? Fate did the rest; women were pregnant; the takeover met with little resistance.
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#19. They argue that the modern world was created by private capital. The subcontinent of India, for instance, was owned by the British East India Company, Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company, our neighbors by the British East Africa Company, and the Congo Free State by a one man corporation. Corporate capital was aided by missionary societies. What private capital did then it can do again; own and reshape the Third World in the image of the West without the slightest blot, blemish, or blotch. NGOs will do what the missionary charities did in the past. The world will no longer be composed of the outmoded twentieth-century divisions of East, West, and a directionless Third. The world will become one corporate globe divided into the incorporating and become the first voluntary corporate colony, the first in a new global order..with NGOs relieving us of social services, the country becomes your real estate.
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#20. A task is a burden only when it has not been tackled.
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#21. The dynamic inter-linkage of art forms in orature is thus seen as reflecting a Weltanschauung that assumes the normality of the connection between nature, nurture, supernatural, and supernurtural. I
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#22. Why did Africa let Europe cart away millions of Africa's souls from the continent to the four corners of the wind? How could Europe lord it over a continent ten times its size? Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go? How did we arrive at this, that the best leader is the one that knows how to beg for a share of what he has already given away at the price of a broken tool? Where is the future of Africa?
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#23. For the first 3 weeks of that month, I was also under internal segregation. This simply meant that no other political prisoner was allowed near me. During meals, I was made to sit apart from the others, often with a guard between us. During my ration of sunshine, I had to sit in my corner, often with a watchful guard to ensure that there was no talking or other contact between me & any of the others. Because we were all on the same block it wasn't easy for the warders to enforce total segregation. The other political prisoners would break through the cordon by shouting across to me or by finding any & every excuse for going past where I was sitting & hurriedly throwing in one or two words of solidarity...This was always touching coming from people who were in no better conditions.
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#24. He carried the Bible; the soldier carried the gun; the administrator and the settler carried the coin. Christianity, Commerce, Civilization: the Bible, the Coin, the Gun: Holy Trinity.
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#25. But when did this anger take root? When snakes first appeared on the national scene? When water in the bowels of the earth turned bitter? Or when he visited America and failed to land an interview with Global Network News on its famous program Meet the Global Mighty? It is said that when he was told that he could not be granted even a minute on the air, he could hardly believe his ears or even understand what they were talking about, knowing that in his country he was always on TV; his every moment - eating, shitting, sneezing, or blowing his nose - captured on camera.
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#26. Christianity and Western civilization-what countless crimes have been committed in thy name!
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#27. The present predicaments of Africa are often not a matter of personal choice: they arise from a historical situation. Their solutions are not so much a matter of personal decision as that of a fundamental social transformation of the structures of our societies starting with a real break with imperialism and its internal ruling allies. Imperialism and its comprador alliances in Africa can never develop the continent.
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#28. Our fathers fought bravely. But do you know the biggest weapon unleashed by the enemy against them? It was not the Maxim gun. It was division among them. Why? Because a people united in faith are stronger than the bomb
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#29. For I had reached a point in my life when I came to view words differently. A closer look at language could reveal the secret of life.
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#30. Surely my mother could do anything to which she set her mind
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#31. Our lives are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; those who strive to build a protective wall around it, and those who wish to pull it down; those who seek to mould it and those committed to breaking it up; those who aim to open our eyes, to make us see the light and look to tomorrow [ ... ] and those who wish to lull us into closing our eyes
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#32. with me,it is 'better never than late
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#33. If we want to turn Africa into a new Europe ... then let us leave the destiny of our countries to Europeans. They will know how to do it better than the most gifted among us.'25
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