Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-m9kch Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T19:15:23.954Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - A Song at Dawn (for Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o)

from Part I - Serenades & Beginnings

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2019

Tsitsi Jaji
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of English and African & African American Studies at Duke University.
Get access

Summary

Grain-scatterer, we too have shed our apostolic alias

and followed you into the shade to hear our voices

bloom. Here rapoko, here chibage, here zviyo, here

nzungu, here nhanga, here sweet, sweet nhope.

Here a name we call ourselves.

Here a thing we will not do: thief.

Grain-distributor, we will trade words with you. We

give an mbeu here for a buried seed there. We

mark up the goods by candlelight, in blue or red

ink. We shrink with doubt from a place called

Nation. One thing we can say for sure: We will never be

a colony again. Need the obvious be stated this way?

Gainsayer, what would you ask us to ask now: What is dying

below the topsoil, that dusting of iron will, nitrous rage,

pot ash? What birthright is traded when a crow

takes cover in a rooster's nest? What will translate this

long century into a new election cycle, a conference

of women, men, young visionaries, old dreamers

debating under the Wangari's forest of green umbrellas?

We will plough your plot, furrow its surface, burrow in the

tunnels of language. Our dismay is our hope, present at

every meeting. In simpler times the answers might have

slipped off our tongues. Now family feuds erupt into wars.

It seems these devilish thorns and eroded rock are also our

inheritance: these lands, these languages, these mother tongues.

You have left us no choice, O stubborn prophet of Gĩkũyũ,

but to try our tongue, and listen as silence softly

breaks.

Type
Chapter
Information
Ngugi
Reflections on his Life of Writing
, pp. 35
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×