Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Decolonising the Mind:...
 
by
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,036 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Ngugi describes this book as "a summary of some of the issues in which I have been passionately involved for the last twenty years of my practice in fiction, theatre, criticism and in the teaching of literature. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Europe stole art treasures from Africa to decorate their houses and museums; in the twentieth century Europe is stealing ...more
Paperback, 114 pages
Published 2005 by East African Educational Publishers (first published July 18th 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rowena
“Education, far from giving people the confidence in their ability and capacities to overcome obstacles or to become masters of the laws governing external nature as human beings, tends to make them feel their inadequacies, their weaknesses and their incapacities in the face of reality; and their inability to do anything about the conditions governing their lives.”- Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind

I’ve never seen colonialism described as succinctly as in the following passage:

“The real
...more
Sawsan
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اللغة الأصل موروث لا ينبغي التفريط فيه, ومفردات كل لغة لها خصوصية تُعبر عن أصحابها
اللغة جزء من هوية الانسان, وبجانب انها وسيلة اتصال هي حامية وحاملة للثقافة والفكر والتراث من جيل لآخر
الكتاب مقالات أصلها محاضرات للكاتب الكيني نجوجي واثيونجو يناقش فيها موضوع اللغة في الأدب
يحكي فيها أجزاء من سيرته الذاتية ويعرض التطور في الكتابة الأفريقية بمختلف أنواعها
واثيونجو عمل لسنوات رئيس لقسم الأدب في جامعة نيروبي وهو من المدافعين عن اللغات والهوية الثقافية الأفريقية
يعرض واثيونجو سياسة سيطرة الاستعمار الثقاف
...more
Zanna
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, readers and writers of all languages
Recommended to Zanna by: Tinea
In this work Ngugi wa Thiong'o bids farewell to his practice of writing in English, adding that he hopes translation will enable him to continue to communicate with all. He then explains the passionate reasoning behind his belief in the use of African languages by African writers.
I have come to realise more and more that work, any work, even literary creative work, is not the result of an individual genius but the result of a collective effort

Taking as a founding principle that imperialism and i
...more
Arielle Walker
Essential reading. And re-reading.

I couldn't even think about quoting this after 30 or so pages, just had to read and read - but it needs to be re-read.

"It is the final triumph of a system of domination when the dominated start singing its virtues"
(page 20)

"The European missionary believed too much in his mission of conquest not to communicate it is the languages most readily available to the people: the African writer believes too much in "African literature" to write it in those ethnic, divis
...more
Claire
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decolonizing the Mind is integral, I think, to understanding anti-colonialist struggles. The western world understands colonialism in terms of the most visible aspects of a nation, namely its leadership. People fail to recognize the long-term effects of colonialism such as widespread poverty. Decolonizing the Mind reminds us of another of these aftereffects, specifically, the domination of language by the Western World. In a sense, the language barrier has enabled social apartheid where legal se ...more
Ms.Lambrecht
Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decolonizing the Mind is integral, I think, to understanding anti-colonialist struggles. The western world understands colonialism in terms of the most visible aspects of a nation, namely its leadership. People fail to recognize the long-term effects of colonialism such as widespread poverty. Decolonizing the Mind reminds us of another of these aftereffects, specifically, the domination of language by the Western World. In a sense, the language barrier has enabled social apartheid where legal se ...more
Mariano Hortal
Gracias a los premios Nobel de literatura se pueden descubrir autores que de otra manera permanecerían ignotos por la mayoría de habitantes de la comunidad lectora. Tal es el caso del keniata Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, un excelente autor que, gracias a estar a punto de ganarlo dos años consecutivos, hemos visto publicados este año dos libros de la mano de PMRH en su completísimo sello Debolsillo; uno ha sido una reedición que tenían de su catálogo de Alfaguara, El brujo del cuervo; el otro, Descolonizar ...more
Matt
An amazing book by a Kenyan author on understanding the psychology of exploitation and oppression by colonialism and imperialism. Its focus is on the exploitation of Africans by Europeans through the domination of culture, but its lessons are applicable to the struggles of all people.

It's a must read. I learned about it from a Palestinian activist visiting the United States.
Alba
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure to read part of this work a few months ago for my Postcolonial Literature class and had been meaning to read the whole of it ever since. Now that I found some time to do it, I gotta say this is a MUST for anyone interested in the effects of colonization in African literature, fiction and theatre. Very thought-provoking and even more intense knowing this was actually Thiong'o's way of saying goodbye to writing in English.
Mely
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subway book because Wizard of the Crow is too heavy for the commute.

First reread in about fifteen years. So far I've discovered I completely misremembered at least one major point: wa'Thiong'o, far from being hostile about the translation of his work into English, welcomes it as a continued communication. He just refuses to make English his primary language of literary communication.

This discovery is not particularly surprising, given how I've seen other white people misread and miscomprehend si
...more
Tinea
God bless this man. Wow. Real review to come.
Angelo Ricci
Ci sono domande che sono determinanti nell’universo della scrittura. Quale tipo di linguaggio è necessario utilizzare? Che rapporto esiste tra la condizione dei personaggi e lo stile con cui si esprimono? E come far convivere l’espressione linguistica delle varie epoche storiche con la contemporaneità dei lettori? Domande che sono alla base di quella struttura che dal Settecento si è formata con il nome di romanzo e che lo stesso Alessandro Manzoni si è posto per tutti i decenni di travaglio di ...more
Sanjana
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thiong'o explains how colonialism has deemed African languages unworthy of use - both by the colonizers and the colonized. He explains how a "cultural bomb" was dropped on Africa so the minds (and consequently the resources) of Africans were controlled. "Make them hate themselves," as the mission goes. This was seen in the schools where European languages were idolized, the streets where African languages became synonymous with the language of the peasantry, and at the prison cells were those Af ...more
Ava
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decolonising the Mind is a fascinating and thought-provoking dissection of the effects of colonization in African literature through the lens of one of the most well-respected African writers. The book, Ngugi wa Thiong'o's last in English, traces the effects colonization has had on literature, theatre, and fiction in Africa and what has been done and can be done to create something more authentically and wholly African. It raises questions of self and culture, imperialism, and language through t ...more
Mimi
I took a class with this author. He's extremely intelligent and presents an interesting argument about the politics of language. In this critical theory text, he addresses the way the colonial process works on the cultural level (as opposed to the material, political, or even physical level). He encourages the use of African languages (rather than the language of former colonizers) in African literature. He also explains how his personal experiences informed his opinions on the politics of langu ...more
Sam
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Very thought provoking and insightful work. I read a book like this once long ago by a lesser well known author called Chika Onyeani, the book was called "Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success: A Spider-Web Doctrine. While Onyeani's work may not have had the editorial attention Thiongo's work received, they both speak the same language regarding Western domination and the destruction of the African identity. Great read.
Ananda Esteva
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this!
Lis
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es muy sano que de vez en cuando alguien o algo te rompa los esquemas, y este libro lo ha hecho conmigo. África y su cultura es tan vasta, tan rica y tan variada que aun haciendo un esfuerzo por no recurrir a tópicos, por no seguir aquello en lo que se nos educa con respecto al continente y por no aprehender de/a los africanos tal y como nos los comunican la sociedad y los medios.... resulta imposible determinar que la (las) conoces. O al menos yo consideraría poco honesto hacerlo.
Conocí la obra
...more
Pau Guillén
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Llibre molt complet sobre la importància de la llengua pròpia en la configuració cultural, social i històrica. Respon de forma excel·lent la pregunta inicial però a la vegada deixa moltes preguntes sense resoldre (sovint perquè no tenen una resposta clara).
Llibre cabdal no només pels països culturalment debastats per imperis col·lonitzadors com és el cas de Kenya, sinó totes aquelles llengües que en certa mesura es rebaixen davant llengües més potents en l'àmbit internacional com podria ser l'a
...more
Hager Ragab
المره دي رحلتي مع كاتب وقاص وناقد كيني،الكتاب دا بالذات عن رحلته مع الأدب الافريقي علي وجه الخصوص،مجموعة مقالات عن تجربتو في كتابة ونقد الأدب الافريقي،الزول دا بيدعو للاعتزاز باللغه الافريقيه الأم والكتابه بها في جميع وجوه الادب اذا قصه او مسرحيه او حتي شعر.
بينتقد كتابات الادب الافريقي باللغات الاستعماريه الانجليزيه والفرنسيه والبرتقاليه،اي نعم استخدمت كوسيط لتوصيل الادب الافريقي ولكن يعيب انها سيطرت عليه وبقت هي لغة الكتابه مع انها ليست اللغه الأم،وكمان ما بتوصل الأدب لاصحابو الافارقه القاطنين
...more
Matt Sautman
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Decolonising the Mind is a superb 4 part meditation on how European languages have colonized Africanist literature and criticism. Thiong'o's critiques this colonization in pursuit of identifying truly Africanist authors and bodies of literature. For anyone interested in Post-colonialism, this book is easily as important as Said's Orientalism.
Nermin
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب يتحدث عن سياسة اللغة في الأدب الأفريقي..يدعو الى اعادة اكتشافها لانها هي الطريق لاعادة الحيوية في العلاقة مع ملاييين الالسنة الثورية التي تدعو الى تحرر افريقيا و العالم أجمع ...........



Charles
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o's 'Decolonising the Mind' is certainly a seminal text, not just as regards to the study of African literature, as opposed to Afro-European literature, but as regards to other concerns as well, such as the politics of language, education, drama in a post-colonial state and so on, that have since become standard discussions in the study of post-colonial theory and novels.

However, there were some points that I did not agree with (which is usually the result when an author tends t
...more
Shirley Exall
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book I read six months ago and which made such an impression on me. It's really brilliant, and especially for someone coming from southern Africa it was very important for me to read a wise man unpacking all the paraphernalia about the colonial attitude to the continent. Sometimes one can get irritated by the sloganising one hears about decolonisation, but in this case there is an intelligent analysis of the workings of ideology and prejudice and preconception. I thoroughly enjoy ...more
Annie Xie
Definitely thought-provoking and gives me something to think about in terms of language, anti-colonialist struggles, and the future or even definition of "African literature". I absolutely agree that literature in African languages should be written, should be read, and should be taught, but I don't quite make the leap with Ngugi in seeing English-language African literature as perpetuating colonization and imperialism.

"We African writers are bound by our calling to do for our languages what Sp
...more
Njatha Wanjiku
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ananya
I get what he's trying to say. you're in a way still colonized because you have let their language take control of basically every aspect of your life. the people who could speak English began asserting their dominance after the British left. it is somehow believed that the person who can speak English is superior than the person who can't, something that Fanon also talked about (French in his case). so in a way, they perpetuated this imperialism by taking the place of the original imperialists. ...more
Raphaël
Le manifeste d'un auteur kenyan qui décide d'abandonner l'anglais pour ne plus écrire qu'en kikuyu, sa langue maternelle. Le témoignage est très intéressant quant à la réappropriation de sa propre culture et montre bien comment la colonisation, au-delà du façonnage des pays colonisés à l'exploitation économique, a aussi largement façonné les esprits à un référentiel culturel jugé supérieur. Si j'ai trouvé le témoignage sur le cheminement personnel très intéressant (de l'étudiant modelé par le sy ...more
Abby
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african
Recopilación de cuatro conferencias que dio el escritor keniata Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o durante la primera mitad de la década de los ochenta en distintos congresos e instituciones en las que pondera la importancia del lenguaje nativo como base de la construcción y consolidación de una identidad africana propia en contraposición a la impuesta por el imperialismo. Como siempre desde su actitud rebelde, proactiva y anticolonialista. Interesante y revelador.
Nnick
A interesting examination of the aesthetic and cultural differences between bourgeoisie and indigenous art. The major difference is in the relationship to the community. The bourgeiose create a facade of prefection by institutionalizing and confiding art into certain spatial zones. Indigenous art, on the other hand, places art all around the community in a flowing interaction. I believe this book is necessary for anyone seeking to judge art's value.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Author/translator with the same name 3 17 Jul 07, 2017 12:42PM  
Great African Reads: * January-March 2014: Decolonizing the Mind 26 79 Mar 20, 2014 03:12AM  
  • On the Postcolony
  • Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism
  • The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge
  • Discourse on Colonialism
  • How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
  • Daughters of Africa
  • I Write What I Like: Selected Writings
  • A Dying Colonialism
  • The Colonizer and the Colonized
  • The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness
  • Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution, 1983-87
  • Sundiata:  An Epic of Old Mali
  • The Challenge for Africa
  • A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present
  • When Rain Clouds Gather
  • Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
  • I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation
  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
51936
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

“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.” 6 likes
“Prescription of the correct cure is dependent on a rigorous analysis of the reality.” 5 likes
More quotes…