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Title:Ngugi's Colonial Education: 'The Subversion...of the African Mind
Author:Sicherman, Carol
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic terms:Uganda
higher education
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
About person:Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938-)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/524791
Abstract:This paper examines the mental subversion effected upon the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o by the higher educational system in late colonial East Africa. It describes the impact of two institutions: Alliance High School, Kenya, and Makerere College, Uganda. Four hypotheses govern the paper: that Ngugi's primary education in a Gikuyu Independent School (1948-1955) gave him an awareness 'of colonialism as an oppressive force' and a pride in peasant culture; that at Alliance High School, the combination of flexible ethnic pluralism, rigid and proselytizing Christianity, and colonial doctrinalism - along with high intellectual demands - made a lasting impact on Ngugi and gave him intellectual tools with which he later attacked the colonial mind controls; that the same combination of pluralism, doctrinalism, and intellectual rigour appeared as well at Makerere but differently proportioned: with the doctrine muted, with the intellectual demands increased, and with a much greater encouragement to write creatively; that at Leeds University, where he carried out postgraduate work in the 1960s, Ngugi found in Fanon and Marxist theory a doctrine to replace the Christian-imperial model that was inculcated at Alliance and assumed at Makerere - and that this way of thinking took root in the nationalist soil prepared in the Gikuyu Independent School. Bibliogr., notes, ref.