Ngugi should have spoken in Kiswahili when taking prize

Author Ngugi wa Thiong'o gestures during an interview on February 7, 2019 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Since the late 1980s or thereabouts, Ngugi has been writing most of his creative works in Gikuyu and later getting the works translated into English by himself or being translated into Kiswahili by other people.
  • Ngugi’s embrace of Gikuyu as his chosen medium of literary expression no doubt marked a turning point in his career.

Immediately after Kenya’s foremost writer, scholar, translator and essayist – Ngugi wa Thiong’o - gave an acceptance speech (in Gikuyu), after being honoured as the 31st recipient of the Catalonia International Prize, for his daring and distinguished literary work and defence of African languages on Thursday 3, 2020, his son, Dr Mukoma wa Ngugi tweeted: “Baba just gave his International Catalonia Lit Prize acceptance speech in Gikuyu! And before the anti-African language corner says anything, would you complain if he had accepted it in German, Dutch, French or English? Congrats again @NgugiWaThiongo…”

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