Weep not, child

by Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʾo,

Other authorsBen Okri (Introduction)
Paper Book, 2012





New York : Penguin Books, 2012.


"Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a garbage heap and look into their futures: Njoroge is to attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. But this is Kenya, and the times are against them: in the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau, the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.First published in 1964, Weep Not, Child is a moving novel about the effects of the infamous Mau Mau uprising on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular"--

User reviews

LibraryThing member kidzdoc
Ngũgĩ's powerful debut novel about colonial Kenya was released in 1964 while he was a student at the University of Leeds, and was the first book published in English by an East African. The story is centered around Njoroge, a young Kenyan boy within a loving but impoverished household who is overjoyed when his father Ngotho is able to pay for him to attend school, an opportunity that was not made available to his older brothers. Ngotho is barely able to provide for his family as he works for Mr Howlands, a white landowner who views the Africans who work for him as savages who are barely more useful or worthy of his attention than his farm animals. The property that Ngotho and his family lives on is owned by Jacobo, a wealthier black Kenyan who is supportive of the Mr Howlands and other colonialists and oppresses and torments Ngotho and other landless natives.

Ngotho is challenged by an older son to take a stand against his employer and participate in the nationwide strike against white rule, subsistence wages, and laws designed by the colonialists to restrict most black Kenyans from advancement. The strike is brutally repressed, and Ngotho and his family suffer as a result. The failure of the strike leads to the Mau Mau uprising, in which nationalists commit acts of violence against colonialists, and black Kenyans who do not agree with their oath of loyalty. Njoroge is caught in the middle of the struggle, as he does not take the oath of loyalty but is opposed to colonialists and the natives that benefit from their rule. His older brothers join the freedom fighters, as the conflict
threatens the lives Njoroge and the other members of his family, and he is forced to decide whether to continue with his education or take a stand with or against his brothers and his father.

Weep Not, Child is a superb first novel, as Ngũgĩ convincingly places the reader amidst the difficult decisions and violence that many ordinary Kenyans faced during the early days of the independence movement. I would have enjoyed this novel more if some of the key supporting characters had been better developed, but this is a minor criticism of this highly recommended book.
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LibraryThing member cameling
The Mau Mau uprising in Kenya during the 1950s is featured in this story of 2 brothers, Njoroge and Kamau. Their lives and that of their family and many others are thrown into chaos when their loyalties are strained. Do they support the Mau Mau or do they support the colonial government. As the violence escalates, dreams and ideals are shattered as are families.… (more)





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