Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Matigari” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  393 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Who is Matigari? Is he young or old; a man or fate; dead or living...or even a resurrection of Jesus Christ? These are the questions asked by the people of this unnamed country, when a man who has survived the war for independence emerges from the mountains and starts making strange claims and demands. Matigari is in search of his family to rebuild his home and start a new ...more
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Africa World Press (first published 1986)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,306)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 29, 2014 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-lit
"Where can a person girded with a belt of peace find truth and justice in this world?" - Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Matigari

The story takes place in a newly-independent Kenya. Like in other recently independent countries, their former masters still have a very strong presence and much control. Matigari ma Nijiruungi, whose name means "the patriots who survived the bullets" in Swahili, is a Messiah-like figure who has returned from fighting for independence and finds that his country has become corrupt
Nov 07, 2015 Darkowaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of major themes in this! 'Matigari' is the ultimate African post-colonial, social justice novel. And of course, Ngugi executes the storyline brilliantly with the courage and strength of Matigari ma Njiruungi - a patriot who goes to great lengths to ensure there is justice for the oppressed in a nation (this is a fictitious/imaginary nation). I don't think this book is for everyone... it may be a dry read for some. But if you appreciate African ora
Oct 01, 2012 Forrest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To the common reader Ngugi's Matigari sounds like a naive, almost quaint sort of fable. But those who have studied the history of colonial Kenya, particularly the Mau Mau rebellion and it suppression by British Authorities, will recognize a bitter critique of post-colonial Kenya from the viewpoint of those who fought and suffered for the country's independence. Matigari is a sort of "everyman" representing the Mau Mau guerrillas and their displacement in an independent Kenya where the players ha ...more
May 17, 2011 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-novel
Ngugi's feverish fantasy of the return of a struggler for African independence to his post-colonial country. Believing he can don a 'belt of peace' and resume a civilian life with his family in the house he had built, Matigari discovers a corrupt society of scavenging children, oppressed factory workers and women forced into prostitution.

Matigari assumes the role of mentor of lost souls, then wandering questioner, and finally warrior returning to reignite the battle for liberation. He seems to t
Apr 26, 2015 Jaclyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the work of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o while studying him at varsity. Nowadays I’m probably less idealistic than I was before, but I still thoroughly enjoy his writing. I don’t agree with some of his opinions (which some could criticise me for), but he truly is a writer with great principles - those of equality, community alongside self-sufficiency, empowerment and of valuing one’s own culture. This was, as always, an entertaining and thought-provoking read, at times funny and at othe ...more
Dora Okeyo
Ngugi has long excelled in creating characters that embody qualities you'd recognize in those around you without much thought or struggle.

In Matigari, he uses symbolism to expound on the protagonist's cause. Matigari returns to his land after battling with settlers in the hills and forest only to discover that the battle is ongoing, and now the women and children suffer because the people live in fear. They do not speak up lest they are imprisoned or killed, and there's no respect for women and
Krishna Avendaño
Aug 10, 2015 Krishna Avendaño rated it did not like it
Un panfleto marxista disfrazado de novela. La ideología es lo de menos. Yo es que no puedo con estos libros que aparentan ser literatura pero no son otra cosa que propaganda sin sustancia de un credo. Lo mismo me pasa con Ayn Rand, por ejemplo.
Mwithiga Wa
This is my most favorite novel. From the day i read it, entire way of thinking and perception of my country Kenya changed. I realized that true patriots who fought for our country against colonial imperialism never saw the corridors of power, neither their children.
The novel gives a true picture of our country Kenya, where sons of our colonial collaborators, home guards and sell outs replaced the colonial regime leaving the true liberators in the cold.
But, the struggle continues since "Justice
Nov 27, 2007 Sumner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to have your mind blown, read this book. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. This is one of my new favorites. So cool.

(It's by Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o - it's set in a fictional country and is based around this character Matigari, who is kind of a mythical figure. The book uses tons of symbolism and legend language to make social commentary. It's awesome.)
Kirsten Kinnell
May 23, 2009 Kirsten Kinnell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, africa
recommended for anyone with an even passing interest in Africa. very interesting examination of the post-independence period in Africa. so good, so moving, the Kenyan government put out an arrest warrant for the (fictional) title character.
Apr 05, 2014 Charlene rated it it was amazing
The warrior seeking truth and justice for a people dispossessed. Very easy to read and what a pleasure!
Dec 18, 2010 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Reviewed by The Complete Review
Jerome Kuseh
May 23, 2015 Jerome Kuseh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african
Biting satire of the 1980's Kenyan government. It's an okay read but the themes are powerful.
'Where can a person girded with a belt of peace find truth and justice in this world?'
Ben Dutton
Feb 06, 2012 Ben Dutton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2010 Darryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the preface to this novel, Ngũgĩ informs us that Matigari was written in 1983, while he was living in exile in London. It was published in the Gĩkũyũ language in 1986, and translated into English the following year. He also tells us that copies of this book were removed from bookshops by the Kenyan police that year, due to the controversy that its release caused there.

Matigari ma Njirũũngi, which means 'the patriots who survived the bullets' in the Gĩkũyũ language, is an old man in an unnamed
Yahaya Molmela
Aug 29, 2012 Yahaya Molmela rated it liked it
'Where can a person girded with a belt of peace find truth and justice in this world?'

Its almost impossible to forget this line that was echoed in almost every chapter of the book, if you have ever read the book. Matigari was written in a satirical way that tries to emulate the African oral tradition, thus there are a lot repetitions in it to reinforce the general theme of the book.

Matigari, is a revolutionist, a character abstraction of all of us that seek truth and social justice in the new Af
Jiali Yu
Feb 02, 2014 Jiali Yu rated it it was amazing
I read this book in English Writing course in Spring semester in 2013, it was well-written, though some of the content is related to politics and it is controversial, I think it shows the culture of an African country.
Mckenna S
Jan 25, 2015 Mckenna S rated it it was amazing
A truly wonderful book with so much insight and commentary on racism, the power + manipulation that can often be found in government, and freedom. There are so many wonderful sentences and messages that I can imagine were even more powerful in the book's original language.
Interesting to read and fascinating to consider the effects it had upon publication (people talking about the hero of the book in the streets, almost calling for a revolt until the book was banned) but otherwise rather straight forward.
Brooke Corwin
Jun 22, 2010 Brooke Corwin rated it it was ok
I read Matigari for an African Literature class in college. I enjoyed it because the way it is written imitates that of oral storytelling methods, especially those that originate in Africa. Matigari is an ambiguous, yet strong character. He fights the oppressors. He is in an unknown place, in an unknown time. Thus, he is nearly everyone. This is such an interesting novel that I would recommend everyone to read it to broaden a perspective of humanity that is whole-heartedly honest and relatable.
Nana Fredua-Agyeman
One of the many post-independence literature that vehemently spoke against the new breed of rulers and the type of elitism that was developing. These new breed occupied the position that they fought against and wreak upon the people the very things they despised. This story got its author into exile but not after several copies of the book have been burnt.

Click on the link below for my review

Jennifer Boettcher
Aug 25, 2012 Jennifer Boettcher rated it liked it
The style of this book was interesting. Thiong'o wrote to emmulate the African story-telling technique and he did it well. It did drag in the middle, but I was engrossed for the third part to the end. I was rooting for the protagonist and have to contemplate more on whether I felt his politics were flawed as a result of the simple tone of the book (because of the style) or they are simply naive.
Matigari the main character returns home after being away from his home and family, what he finds isn't what he 's been fighting for. The sense of disillusionment felt by the old man, his innocent reactions to situations are sad at times.
The author never names the country, leaving it for the reader to decide where he's set the book.
Dec 28, 2014 Virtuella rated it it was ok
Worthy but dull. Can't argue with its merits as a comment on post-colonial Africa, but it is so overtly allegorical and full of repetition that I found it quite tedious to read. It has some Brechtian qualities, but imagine a Brecht drama in which all the songs are the same...
Jun 01, 2010 John rated it really liked it
This was an excellent book that gives a great perspective of life under tyranny and an abusive government. Ngugi is a great writer and the novel is a very enjoyable experience
Jan 11, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-1001-read, 2015
This was a very powerful book. I would definitely recommend it, although it seems hard to find.
Jul 13, 2012 Beth78 added it
This book tells us of a very interesting time in the historyb of Kenya. Great piece of work!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Question of Power
  • Efuru
  • The Return of the Water Spirit
  • The Concubine
  • Ambiguous Adventure
  • Chaka
  • Maps
  • Going Down River Road
  • In the Fog of the Seasons' End
  • Our Sister Killjoy
  • The Dark Child
  • Houseboy
  • The Purple Violet of Oshaantu
  • God's Bits of Wood
  • A Cowrie of Hope
  • You Must Set Forth at Dawn
  • Mine Boy
  • African Short Stories
Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers. After imprisonment in 1978, Ngũgĩ abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue. The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity ha ...more
More about Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o...

Share This Book