Tuesday, April 25, 2006

There is a story told about the loss of the land. Many of the children gathered

around to hear Ngotho’s story.

There was a big drought sent to the land by evil ones who must have been

jealous of the prosperity of the children of the Great One. But maybe also

the children of Mumbi forgot to burn a sacrifice to Murungu. So he did not

shed His blessed tears that make crops grow. The sun burnt freely. Plague

came to the land. Cattle died and people shrank in size. Then came the

white man as had long been prophesied by Mugo wa Kibiro, that Gikuyu

seer of old. (Ngugi 25)

It is during this story that Njoroge finds out that the white man had taken his ancestors

land from the family. He never knew that the land his father was working on actually

belonged to the family. Njoroge seemed very surprised to find out all this information.

“…it was a surprising revelation, this knowledge that the land occupied by Mr. Howlands

originally belonged to them” (Ngugi 26). His father is the same he still speaks like he has

a hard time understanding what has been done to his people. As Ngotho finishes his story

he comments, “I grew up here, but working…(here Ngotho looked all around the silent

faces and then continued)… working on the land that belonged to our ancestors…”

(Ngugi 26). The wound is still fresh. One of the other brothers yelled, “How can you

continue working for a man who has taken your land? How can you go on serving him?”

(Ngugi 27). He does not understand that the father is just happy to be able to see and tend

to the land that was once their own. Either way every member of the family is deeply

upset over the situation that they have come to live in. For them loosing their ancestors

land would be like many of us loosing a family heirloom. They will never forget what

happened. They will always know who to blame it on. The white man will always be the


The following chapter shows Ngotho actually at work. He is walking the land

with Mr. Howlands, inspecting the plants. Ngotho was able to help Mr. Howlands at one

point. It appears that the crops and land were not doing well and Ngotho was able to

improve Mr. Howlands fortune. The picture that Ngugi paints in this scene is an

interesting one. You see this white man, who is the owner of the land, and a black man,

who the land once belonged to, walking along admiring the flowers, pulling weeds and

making notes of things that need to be done. It almost appears to be a friendship. But

deep down Ngotho is angry that his family’s land has been taken by the Europeans. He

should be the one tending to it and reaping its benefits. There is a moment of excitement

for Ngotho when he wonders if his children will one day have the opportunity to gain the

land back. Mr. Howlands comments that he does not know who will control the land after

he is gone. This gives Ngotho a hit of faith that one day his ancestors land will be back in

the family.


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