The River Between

The River Between Christian missionaries attempt to outlaw the female circumcision ritual and in the process create a terrible rift between the two Kikuyu communities on either side of the river

Christian missionaries attempt to outlaw the female circumcision ritual and in the process create a terrible rift between the two Kikuyu communities on either side of the river.

  • ✓ The River Between Þ Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
    303 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
The River Between

  1. 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, Ng g 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 has been a central issues in a great deal of Ng g s writings Ng g wa Thiong o was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru, Kiambu District, as the fifth child of the third of his father s four wives At that time Kenya was under British rule, which ended in 1963 Ng g s family belonged to the Kenya s largest ethnic group, the Gikuyu His father, Thiong o wa Nducu, was a peasant farmer, who was forced to become a squatter after the British Imperial Act of 1915 Ng g attended the mission run school at Kamaandura in Limuru, Karinga school in Maanguu, and Alliance High School in Kikuyu During these years Ng g became a devout Christian However, at school he also learned about the Gikuyu values and history and underwent the Gikuyu rite of passage ceremony Later he rejected Christianity, and changed his original name in 1976 from James Ng g , which he saw as a sign of colonialism, to Ng g wa Thiong o in honor of his Gikuyu heritage After receiving a B.A in English at Makerere University College in Kampala Uganda in 1963, Ng g worked briefly as a journalist in Nairobi He married in 1961 Over the next seventeen years his wife, Nyambura, gave birth to six children In 1962 Ng g s play THE BLACK HERMIT was produced in Kampala In 1964 he left for England to pursue graduate studies at the Leeds University in England.The most prominent theme in Ng g s early work was the conflict between the individual and the community As a novelist Ng g made his debut with WEEP NOT, CHILD 1964 , which he started to write while he was at school in England It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African author Ng g used the Bildungsroman form to tell the story of a young man, Njoroge He loses his opportunity for further education when he is caught between idealistic dreams and the violent reality of the colonial exploitation THE RIVER BETWEEN 1965 had as its background the Mau Mau Rebellion 1952 1956 The story was set in the late 1920s and 1930s and depicted an unhappy love affair in a rural community divided between Christian converts and non Christians A GRAIN OF WHEAT 1967 marked Ng g s break with cultural nationalism and his embracing of Fanonist Marxism Ng g refers in the title to the biblical theme of self sacrifice, a part of the new birth unless a grain of wheat die The allegorical story of one man s mistaken heroism and a search for the betrayer of a Mau Mau leader is set in a village, which has been destroyed in the war The author s family was involved in the Mau Mau uprising Ng g s older brother had joined the movement, his stepbrother was killed, and his mother was arrested and tortured Ng g s village suffered in a campaign.In the 1960s Ng g was a reporter for the Nairobi Daily Nation and editor of Zuka from 1965 to 1970 He worked as a lecturer at several universities at the University College in Nairobi 1967 69 , at the Makerere University in Kampala 1969 70 , and at the Northwestern University in Evanston in the United States 1970 71 Ng g had resigned from his post at Nairobi University as a protest against government interference in the university, be he joined the faculty in 1973, becoming an associate professor and chairman of the department of literature It had been formed in response to his and his colleagues criticism of English the British government had made in the 1950s instruction in English mandatory Ng g had asked in an article, written with Taban lo Liyong and Henry Owuor Anyumba, If there is need for a s

153 Reply to “The River Between”

  1. I imagine being a woman in the beautiful landscape of colonial Kenya as having to choose between Scylla and Charybdis, as being torn between ancient rites and Christian missionaries neither of them offering any kind of individual choice and development for a woman.As a woman, you are stuck between quite similar, yet opposing male monsters of rigid patriarchal rituals, fighting each other with religious salvation vocabulary and with you as a prize It is interesting for myself to follow my multipl [...]


  2. I found this story to be very reminiscent of one of my favourite books, Chinua Achebe s Things Fall Apart, as both stories deal with the turmoil, changes and confusion that arose in Africa after Christianity was introduced In The River Between, two communities of Kikuyu a Kenyan ethnic group , one Christian, the other traditional, struggle as the Christian group tries to outlaw female circumcision, which they believe to be a pagan practice, while the traditionals being distrustful of the white m [...]



  3. A subtle and rhythmic book on the impact of colonialism in a Kenyan people This focuses on the clash of interests and views between a tribes past traditions, and the missionary tradition of Christianity One would first attempt to sympathize with the culture that is under attack, but then you realize that a key element of that culture is female circumcision As such, women are a main discussion poinnt of this book, but here they have very little agency.You grow accustomed to the writing style as t [...]


  4. Although it was published after Weep Not, Child, this is the first book Ngugi wrote For me, it contrasts with later works like Wizard of the Crow, which gives the strong impression of being written for the people it is about, with the exception of the corrupt ruling class whereas this book, I feel, unintentionally stands apart, employing a degree of ironic social critique, for example when parents mistake beatings by teachers for good pedagogy The later work exudes affirmation and encouragement, [...]


  5. I read this novel because I thought Ngugi would win the Nobel Prize today, but he did not In any event, I m glad I read it, because it has been very long since I read his work since reading A Grain of Wheat in high school, not long after it was published.I was struck by the rhythm not of Ngugi s prose, but of his telling of the story, the repetitions, hesitations, thought processes, excitements, rememberings, and fears The writing itself is not of much interest The fablistic, traditional, and cl [...]



  6. Ngugi tells a tale of the divisions in a community in Kenya brought on my colonialism and Christianity The rift grows as each of the major divisions solidify their positions amid the invasion of the country The focus of the battle is between the Kenyans rather than the invaders, reminiscent of how in the diaspora the frustration of communities often gets turned on to itself rather than the wider system that creates and sustains those kind of divisions An important read for black Americans becaus [...]


  7. Apparently simple but deeply complex and lyrically beautiful story set in colonial Kenya A young man from the Kikuyu people who seems to be destined to be its leader, comes to realise that what is being presented to him as a choice between resisting colonial pillage and disenfranchisement, and exposing his people to new knowledge and thinking, is actually a false one It s a novella so rather than taking time to develop characters, the focus is much on presenting a set of complex themes and seei [...]


  8. Often compared with Achebe s, Things Fall Apart, The River Between is a defining piece of POCO lit Written in 1961 in the wake of the Mau Mau uprising and the context of recent and bitter memories, The River Between represents colonialism as an economic grab of resources, with education, language and Christianity being subordinate to that aim As missionaries settle in the land and establish Christian ideals, the rifts between two Kikuyu communities, one Christian and one traditional, is explored [...]


  9. Weep Not, Child The Black Messiah Waiyaki , , , Waiyaki , Thiong o 60s , , , , , Waiyaki Weep Not, Child , Thiong o , , bonus Penguin classics Grain of Wheat.


  10. A religion that took no count of people s way of life, a religion that did not recognize spots of beauty and truths in their way of life, was useless It would only maim a man s soul, making him fanatically cling to whatever promised security If the white man s religion made you abandon a custom and then did not give you something else of equal value, you became lost Change This books is about change and how people cope with it When the Christian missionaries arrive at an African region the local [...]


  11. The book is about the disturbances and conflict in Kenya during the English occupation The Christian missionaries, who saw themselves as superior and civilized, forced their way of life on the people of Kenya, took over their land and wanted them to pay tax Many people of Kenya didn t want to change.In the book, it all comes down to the issue of circumcision The Christians are against women circumcision The tension grows and , because of this The tribe does it because it is tradition, apparentl [...]


  12. Cum tiu foarte pu ine lucruri despre cultura kenyan , romanul lui Ng g wa Thiong o a fost o incursiune interesant ntr o lume guvernat de tradi ii i ritualuri str vechi, a c rei armonie i autenticitate sunt tulburate de sosirea oamenilor albi i a credin ei cre tine Sunt vremuri de profunde schimb ri, n care membrii triburilor ies din ignoran a lor fericit pentru a cunoa te beneficiile dar i blestemul civiliza iei Ei sunt deposeda i de p m nturile l sate de p rin ii neamului lor, sunt subjuga i pe [...]


  13. I was first recommended this author and this novel by three well read Tanzanian friends, bought it immediately, but then set it aside Recently a new friend from Nairobi said she considers Ngugi Wa Thiong o the most authentic writer of Africa, and this is in fact her second choice novel among his works She praises A Grain of Wheat first But I finally read this one, and I m glad I did.This is not a Disney version of African culture, even as its plot would seem to follow a familiar narrative arc to [...]


  14. This is a very important book and a pretty good read too If you ve read and appreciated Things Fall Apart, this is cast in the same vein and you will appreciate this.Written in a similar lyrical style to The Life and Times of Michael K or Cry, The Beloved Country, The River Between tells the story of gradually deepening rifts in a community as the influences of colonialism make themselves felt Factions appear and the battles between them force each and every individual to choose.The vehicle for [...]


  15. An excellent description of the typical dilemma African culture has facedsince the introduction of Christianity, and the divisions it caused during the time when colonialism became fully entrenched The challenge of cultural development is still relevant today, and this book is a good start in initiating discussion as to how this conundrum can be resolved.The book presents the problem in the form of two villages on opposite sides of a river in the Central Highlands of Kenya, one clinging to tradi [...]


  16. This book illustrates powerful tensions between tribal ways and Christian ways in Africa in the time of Livingstone, the famous missionary Both sides incur guilt The novel effectively uses imagery of shedding blood to point to a human longing for redemption, but characters struggle with different visions of where that redemption will come from Will it come through keeping the purity of the old tribal rituals including circumcision of both the male and female variety Will it come through educatio [...]





  17. Benim i in 2017 nin ilk kitab Aradaki Nehir oldu Afrika dan da bir edebiyat kt n t m d nyaya g steren en nemli yazarlardan olan Thiongo, kesinlikle al lm n d nda bir d nya ve bak a s sunuyor bize.Kenya kabilelerinden iki tanesinin Beyaz Adam larla tan mas n ve bir kesimin g rece yozla p, di er kesimin de geleneklerinden yana fanatikle mesini ve bunlar n at malar n ele alan kitap tart mal savlarla dolu zellikle kad n s nneti ile ilgili savunucu taraf insan biraz irkiltiyor Bu y zden kitab Jung un [...]


  18. R ul care ne desparte este o carte care cuprinde i surprinde, ntre copertele sale, un univers aparte aflat la grani a dintre tradi ie i modern Gra ie stilului simplu, clar, f r artificii, al propozi iilor i frazelor scurte, al dialogurilor i portretiz rilor succinte, cuvintele cap t putere, schimb destine, st rne te revolte, dragoste i ur Spus din perspectiva unui narator omniscient pe alocuri par ial omniscient, l s nd spa ii libere de completat de c tre cititori , povestea este str b tut de re [...]



  19. This novel which exposes the conflicts that arise within an African tribe as they face the incroaching influence of white colonial forces, the first Ngugi wa Thiong o wrote, is a powerful tale of remarkable depth and complexity There is a definite emphasis on duality and symbolism, but the grey areas, the internal conflicts and sense of alienation within the main character, Waiyaki speak no only to the community power struggles and challenges, but to the kind of doubts and anxieties individuals [...]



  20. Ngugi s second novel tackling the problems of acculturation and the clash that can ensue when traditional cultures are confronted with Western Christianity This is symbolized here by the two ridges around which the story is woven Kameno which stands for the old , traditional way, and Mayuku, symbol of the new , Christian way We are in Kikuyu land, the region around Nairobi, stretching into the Rift Valley, some time in the fifties, when the Mau Mau rebellion shook the country, later leading to K [...]


  21. Ngugi b 1938 is a highly regarded Kenyan writer who has written novels and plays both in English, such as the novel under review here, and in Gikuyu The River Between centers upon a young man named Waiyaki, who supposedly descends from tribal leaders of great power Waiyaki dreams of healing a split that has occurred in his valley between those who are attracted to Christianity, with its access to education and the power of the white man, and traditionalists who uphold age old tribal practices, p [...]


  22. This short novel is set in colonial Kenya, in an isolated region where two rival populations each live on a ridge separated by a river that nourishes and erodes the land of both communities One community is mainly Christian, led by a local man who has embraced the colonialists religion and rejects traditional values, particularly circumcision of young men and women the other is based on tribal traditions, led by a group of elders and influenced by a young man who is descended from a rich lineage [...]


  23. An interesting glimpse into life on the ridges in the age of colonialism The characters had strong voices and it was easy to understand their perspectives, despite this book being written in third person Not my usual genre, I read this as a literature text, which could make my review of this book biased, but I do think the story was a little monotonous if boring at times, but then again it is well written with good ideas.Also this book has short chapters, say one chapter to 3 or 4 pages, and tha [...]


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