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This research work is assigned to examine issues of struggle for freedom in African literature, particularly in Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Micere’s The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The Black Hermit. This research work critically analyze the theme of struggle for freedom in the two books as the focus of the work. Therefore freedom implies political or economic exemption or liberation from slavery or imprisonment. It could further be said to be an exemption from political resistant, cultural or autocratic control especially as regards colonialism. The struggle for freedom in African society started in the early nineteenth century, when the freedom fighters outrageously revolted against western colonization. It was concluded that African society gain independence when there is struggle through active movement such as the Kenyan mau mau movement



Cover Page   –        –        –                  –        –        –        –        –        i

Certification  –        –        –        –        –                  –        –        –        ii

Declaration   –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iii

Dedication    –        –        –        –                  –        –        –        –        iv

Acknowledgements           –        –        –        –        –        –        –        v

Abstract       –        –        –        –        –        –        –                  –        vi

Table of contents    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vii


1.1     Background to the Study   –        –        –        –        –        –        1

1.2     Statement of the Problem  –        –        –        –        –        –        2

1.3     Purpose of the study         –        –        –        –        –        –        3

1.4     Objectives of the study      –        –        –        –        –        –        4

1.5     Significance of the Study   –        –        –        –        –        –        5

1.5     Scope and Limitation of the Study         –        –        –        –        –        5

1.6     Research Methodology      –        –        –        –        –        –        6


2.1     The Impact of Colonialism, Post colonialism and quest for independence    – 6

2.2     The Theme of Freedom and Survival in African Literature       –        9

2.3     The History of Dedan Kimathi and Kenyan Freedom Fighters –         12


3.1     Bio-Data of the Authors     —       –        –        –        –        –        14

3.2     A Critical Analysis of the Play       –        –        –        –        –        16

3.3     Themes in the Play  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        19

3.4     Characterization      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        22

3.5     Symbolism and Regeneration as Employed in the Play –        –        23


4.1     Bio-Data of the Author      –        –        –        –        –        –        25

4.2     Critical Analysis of the Play          –        –        –        –        –        –        25

4.3     Themes in the Play  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        27

4.4     Characterization      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        29


5.1     Summary                –        –        –        –        –        –        –        31

5.2     Conclusion    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        32

5.3     Recommendations   –        –        –        –        –        –        –        33

Works Cited




1.1     Background to the Study

The struggle for freedom, as one of the major themes in African literary works, is the question of moving the centre, from the stage of subjugation and oppression to the stage of self-discovery, control and power regained from colonialism. Freedom, in this context, denotes the state of not being under control and influence of colonialism and Imperialism of western cultures. It is the state of realization of self; the state of political and social power gained collectively.

According to Ngugi wa Thiong’o, western imperialism colonizing efforts in the last four hundred years have led to a situation where world cultures have been dominated by a handful of western nations. The west, according to the author, has come to see itself as the centre of the universe. Cultural power, just as much as political and economic power is controlled at this faux centre. In the author’s connection: “moving the centre; the struggle for freedom”, the centre in two senses-between nation and within nations contributes to the freeing of the world cultures from the restrictive walls of nationalism, class, race and gender. The author believes that moving the centre in these ways is a crucial step in the struggle for true cultural freedom throughout the world, in order to correct the “imbalances of the last four hundred years of Euro centric domination”.

Ngugi Wa Thiongo remains one of the most influential African writers, especially in the area of struggle for freedom in Kenya. The author’s concerns for the country were portrayed in his numerous writings which aimed at librating the masses and peasant farmers from the oppression of the whites the first aim of struggle in librating African were political independence. Ngugi saw this as the only first step toward total liberation. According to the author’s the under privilege suffer from political leadership of the whites, in which their lands and properties are denied. To this ends, the only way out of this, is a revolt which he explains in the trials of Dedan Kimathi, and a need to reject westernization and embrace Africanization for the sake of freedom, as expressed in The Black Hermit. The study is aimed at establishing the fact that struggle for freedom had its antecedents and was worth fighting for.


1.2     Statement of the Problem

Most African writers have centered their writings on the idea of struggle for freedom and independence. This is true when considering early literary works in Africa. Not only that these writers are displaying their anger and agitation against the effects of colonialism, but also that they make revolutionary attempts to underrate the values of Western cultures while extolling the African heritage. This, according to them, is the spirit of every freedom fighter.

The issue of revolution and fight for freedom is discussed in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and The Black Hermit. These works are a replica of revolutionary attempt of Kenya’s to end discrimination, oppression and subjugation melted out by the whites and even some Black leaders. Several movements have emanated as a result of this unequal relationship; Negritude, Apartheid, is a few of such movements. With this ideology as a bankdrop, Wa Thiongo set out two dramatic works to address the issue of segregation, oppression and deliminization that led to the struggle for freedom in 1960s for Nigeria and Kenya.

The problem is not whether or not, there was a struggle and resolutions, but the extent to which these struggles led to freedom and independence of African nations like Kenya.

The question of absolute ethnic, political and economic freedom forms the problem of this research. The research work seeks to unravel the different revolution attempts by the “Mau – Mau” fighters like Dedan Kimathi and other freedom fighters in bringing about freedom in the 1960s. the theme of freedom therefore, dominates in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and The Black Hermit, with the question of whether or not, there was really freedom for the Kenyans


1.3     Purpose of the Study

The study aims at examining revolutionary features in Ngugi Wa Thiongo and Micere Mugo’s The trial of Dedan  Kimathi and Ngugi’s  the black hermit to show the contributions of literature to the revolutionary struggle of the Africans and Kenyans (Eastern African) in particular, towards liberating themselves from oppression.

  1. The study shall also investigate the drives for every struggle for independence irrespective of countries.
  2. The study shall contribute to other works that discusses theme of freedom and independence in African literature researches on related area.
  3. The study shall help literature teachers in exposing the students to the concept and spirit of freedom fighters.
  4. The students would not be left out as theirs is to have clear sources for their researches on related area.

1.4. Objectives of the Study

The study aims at achieving the following objectives:

  1. To examine the theme of struggle for freedom in African literature, particularly in Wa Thiong’o’s works.
  2. To investigate the developments and antecedents that led to the quest for independence in African.
  3. To criticize and assess Ngugi’s work as contribution to the struggle for freedom
  4. To find out the concerns and preoccupations of earlier African writers as regards their interest in fighting for freedom.


1.5     Significance of the Study

The research work being embarks on to affirm the postulation that the Africans reacted against the suppressed state, gives the work its specific significance. It is very clear then that the significant of the work is to educate the younger artistic on what was, so as to serve as useful material for further writings and researches. The students and scholars are as well going to benefit maximally since they need materials and resources to refer to, in their researches. The readers are not left out, since history is part of man.

 1.5. Scope and Limitation

          Struggle and revolution exists in the literature of all cultures. They exist in literary theories and are often discussed. The scope of the study however covers only the features an instance of struggle for freedom in the two East African notables work, namely; the trial of Dedan Kimathi and the black Hermit, regarding crucial analysis of two texts, personality constructs of characters and how the massages of themes of struggle for freedom are vehicle across, through these work.  The scope is limited to the two books mentioned, yet writings and extracts from other related materials shall be referred to, occasionally, but this will not be done at the detriment of the main focus of the study


1.6     Research Methodology

This research work uses both the primary and secondary methods. The primary methods entailed the use of the primary texts; the trial of Dedan kimathi and the black hermit while the secondary method involve the use of journals, magazines, blogs, library, etc to source for ,material  to support this research study.




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