Renowned Kenyan author attacked

P. Kerim Friedman kerim.list at
Fri Aug 13 00:50:28 UTC 2004


Renowned Kenyan author attacked

Ngugi wa Thiong'o returned from exile last month

Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o and his wife were attacked in his
home by armed men late on Wednesday night in the capital, Nairobi.

The author is now in hospital after his attackers, demanding money,
tortured him with burning cigarettes.

An outspoken critic of former Kenyan governments, Professor Thiong'o
only returned to Kenya last month after 22 years in self-imposed exile.

Police say they believe the attack is not politically motivated.

Police have launched a manhunt for the gang, who did not get away with
much money as Prof Thiong'o mainly carried credit cards.

The apartments are close to central Nairobi police station

The BBC's Muliro Telewa in Nairobi said the attackers stormed their way
into the apartment as Prof Thiong'o was seeing out a visitor.

His apartment is in a relatively secure part of the city - although
Nairobi is often called "Nairobbery" by residents,  such is its
reputation for muggings and hijackings.

The writer was in Kenya on a month-long lecture tour, organised by his
publishers, and has not made any politically controversial statements
during his visit.

In an interview last weekend, Prof Thiong'o told Kenya's East African
Standard newspaper that he felt humbled by his warm welcome in Kenya.

"I honestly thank Kenyans for making my return possible by ousting the
former regime and secondly I am greatly humbled by the overwhelming and
moving reception I have received from people across the country."

His politically charged writing led to his arrest in 1977 and he spent
a year in detention without trial.

In 1982 he went into self-imposed exile in London, and then took up
residence in New York where he taught comparative literature.

After his novel, Petals of Blood, which was written in 1977, he gave up
writing in English to write in Kikuyu.

He argued that to provoke social change, works needed to be written in
local languages and not those of the colonisers.

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