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Playing With History, Playing With Words

Ngũgĩ and Mugo's The Trial of Dedan Kimathi

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The Trial of Dedan Kimathi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Micere Mugo is a reconstruction of the Kenyan national history of the pre-independence Mau Mau struggle against British imperialism. The essay examines, among other things, the extent to which the authors' materialist ideology has influenced their social and artistic sensibility, and what role this, in turn, has played in their choice of form and other dramatic devices in highlighting the socioeconomic reality of colonial Kenya. It concludes that the strength and/or uniqueness of the play reside less in the narrative or its topicality than in the playwrights' choice of form, by which the play is unified and made poetic.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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