Response to Decolonizing the Mind

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In “Decolonising the Mind” Ngugi Wa Thiong’o makes the call to African writers to begin writing literature in their own languages, and to make sure that literature is connected to their people’s revolutionary struggles for independence from their colonial regimes. He begins with the historical meeting he was invited to with his fellow African writers in Kampala, Uganda. In this conference, writers who wrote their stories in African languages were automatically neglected. He also continues to point out about how English and other European languages are assumed, until today, to be the natural languages and unifying forces in both literature and political views among African people. For instance, to explain his point, Ngugi uses Chinua Achebe, one of the major African writers, who embraces the use of an English Language in his works. Ngugi quotes “For me (Achebe) there is no other choice, I have been given the language and I intend to use it” (Achebe, 62). Finally, Ngugi concludes that writing in African languages is a necessary step toward cultural identity and liberation from centuries of European exploitation. Firstly, I support Ngungi’s claim that an educational system that focuses and embraces only foreign works, such as language and culture is destructive: “Thus language and literature were taking us further and further from ourselves to other selves, from our world to other worlds”(266). Obviously, there is a need to create a literature that embraces the real African experience starting from the perspective of the locals, not the intruders. The local language is an integral part of conveying that experience, this is simply because much of the local tradition is preserved in that language. For example, Ngugi insists that stories and songs are effectively passed down from one generation to the next through oral (story-telling), and the fact that both the story teller and the listener are interested and involved in the conversation. Therefore, the benefits of...
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