YEAR:        1964.


The novel,” Weep Note, Child.” Was written by Ngungi wa thiong”o in 1964 and set in Kenya. The novel reveals the effects of the Mau Mau war in Kenya. The author shows how people (natives) participate in the war. Some of the Kenyans are in dilemma. Example Njoroge and Kamau. Whether to be loyal to their family or the government. Also the author shows how Africans led by betrayed fellow Africans by being closer to the whites while neglecting fellow Africans.

The novel has eighteen chapters which are categorized into two parts: the first part has the title: THE WANING LIGHT which has seven chapters and the second part has the title. DARKNESS FALLS with eleven chapters. There is an interlude effect of the protest by the Africans against their white masters.



Part 1: The Waning Light

Chapter 1

Nyokabi calls her son, Njoroge. She asks him whether he’d like to go to school. Njoroge replies quietly he’d be delighted to. His mother reminds him that he’ll forego lunch since they’re poor. Also, she asks him whether he’ll bring shame to the family by deciding one day not to continue schooling. Njoroge assures her he’ll never bring shame to her. She tells him she’ll buy a shirt and a pair of shorts when his father is paid.

Excited, he breaks the news to his stepbrother, Kamau. He asks him to join him but Kamau says he’ll not leave his apprenticeship in carpentry.

Chapter 2

On Monday, Njoroge meets with Mwihaki who takes him to school as she’s also learning there. She is the daughter of Jacob who owns the land where Ngotho’s family are living on a portion of it.

At school, he is bullied by the other pupils but Mwihaki brings a stop to it. Since her sister is a teacher at the school, the boys cease their bullying as they’re afraid she might report them to her elder sister.

One day, after leaving school, Njoroge finds her mother shelling some caster oil seeds from their ponds. He offers to help her but her mother tells him to do his homework.

After completing, he kneels down besides his mother to help her. He entreats his mother to tell him a story because they’re told in class to give one. She promises to tell him some of them in the evening, but first of all he’s to convey to Kamau that his mother wants to see her.

He sees his brother before he reaches Nanga’s compound. He asks him why he’s been late to get home as they walk towards their home. Kamau complains about Nanga’s insensitiveness by giving him menial jobs instead of training him the trade.

Chapter 3

Ngotho leaves early for work. As is his custom, he doesn’t pass through the fields to Mr. Howlands farm. Instead, he walks along the road. He’s troubled by the words that were uttered by his son, Boro after narrating a story to the young men, including his sons, who had gathered there.

He meets Mr. Howlands who had woken up early. They greet each other. Mr. Howlands, a British citizen, had purposed to settle in Kenya, away from the ‘troubles’ facing his birth country.

They walk around the farm, examining the plants, and where necessary, pulling out a weed.

Ngotho, inwardly, asks himself when Mr. Howlands, and other settlers, will leave so that the blacks can tend their lands. On the other hand, Mr. Howlands wonders who will tender his farm when he passes away. His son who was ‘connected’ to the farm was killed in the Second World War while in the line of duty as a soldier. The last born, Stephen, isn’t drawn to the farm.

Chapter 4

In the evening, after school, Mwihaki asks Njoroge why he keeps to himself. Is he avoiding her? Njoroge had purposed to stay away from Mwihaki when his mother found them playing on the hill late to the night.

He offers an excuse before she asks him whether his parents beat him. He answers only when he does wrong. He asks if her parents beat her. She says sometimes, but if her mother doesn’t beat her, she uses vulgar language on her which hurts her more than beating.

Chapter 5

They stand on a hill, a few metres from their family’s huts. The formation of the hill is a result of accumulation of trash.

Kamau discloses to Njoroge that he also longs to leave the village like their brothers, Boro and Kori, who are in the city, Nairobi.

They hear Kamau’s mother, Njeri, calling them. As they descend the hill, Njoroge remembers something. The land. He asks Kamau whether it is true the lands possessed by the whites belong to the blacks.

Chapter 6

The elders of the village always visited Ngotho’s father to talk on different matters affecting their village. On this particular day, Kori and Boro have come with other young men. Together with the elders, they discuss on sensitive issues affecting them, and their nation.

The men talk about the War they’d fought in, the foreign lands they’d been to, their country, their stolen lands, and the high rate of unemployment in the country. They also talk about the strike.

Mr. Howlands calls his men, and warns them against going on strike. If anyone does, he’ll lose his job.

Njoroge finds his mother, Nyokabi, crying after coming from school. His father, standing in front of her insists he’ll join others in the strike. Nyokabi pleads with him not to go on strike. If the strike fails, he’ll lose his job. Ngotho, in a commanding voice, says he won’t take orders from a woman. Unable to endure his wife’s insistence to reconsider his decision to strike, he slaps her.

He raises his hand to beat her but is stopped by Njoroge who runs forward, beseeching his father not to beat her. His father turns and looks at him. He grabs him on the shoulder, utters indiscernible words, then leaves.

Chapter 7

The following year, Njoroge, and other students, are anxious to know if they’d passed the previous year’s exams. In the evening, Njoroge and Mwihaki walk to their homes, holding each other’s hands; excited they’d excelled in their exams.

Mwihaki, the first to reach her home is met with a different atmosphere in the house. Her mother is crying. Sobbing, her mother laments she’d told Jacob not to go but he went ahead. She fears her husband is dead. Mwihaki asks, “Is he dead?” None in the room answers her.

Meanwhile, Njoroge reaches home to a crowd that had gathered in his father’s compound. Some were turned towards the marketplace while others towards his father’s hut.

Njoroge learns from Kamau the strike had turned out ugly. Two people were killed. Their father was severely injured.

Chapter 8

Two years later, Jacob had been made a Chief, and Mr. Howlands, a District Officer (D.O.).

Ngotho and his family had been thrown out of the land they were in. Nganga had given them a part of his land to settle.

Coming from school, Njoroge doesn’t see anyone in the courtyard. That’s weird. He hears voices in Njeri’s hut. He enters the hut.

Therein, he sees his father, her mother, and the elder one, Kamau and Boro. They’re all anxious to know from Boro about Kori. Some minutes later, Kori enters the hut, weary. He asks for food and water. Afterwards, he narrates how he escaped from the police who had bundled them in a lorry to an unknown destination. Boro had ran away when they were taken to the field before the rest were packed into the lorry.

Chapter 9

There is high expectation that Jomo will win the trial against the charges laid before him. The people are putting their hopes in him as their saviour – to deliver them from the oppressive hands of the British. They hope he’ll be released. However, Jomo loses the case. He is sent back to detention.

Ngotho’s family have gathered in Njeri’s hut. They’re talking about Jomo’s case, and why he hasn’t won it.

Ngotho is consumed in his thoughts. He too had placed his hopes in Jomo after he’s set free. What about his children? Has he failed them? Do they think, especially Boro, that he’d failed them? What will he do save his face from becoming a shame to his children? Boro wants him to join the Mau Mau. He has no problem with it. But, he can’t take an order from his child. It’ll undermine his status as a father in the family.

Chapter 10

Jacob, the newly appointed chief, knocks the door of the DO’s, Howlands. Gun in hand, he enters. He tells Howlands that they should do something about Ngotho’s sons because they’ve been away to ths city for a long time. He is suspicious of his eldest son, Boro. If they remove his sons from the village by taking them to detention camps, they will watch Ngotho’s movement with ease. Howlands tells him he should do what he can to arrest them even if it involves implementing a curfew.

Ngotho is with his second wife, Nyokabi, and Njoroge in her hut. In the other hut, Njeri, his first wife, is with her child, Kori. Her youngest son, Kamau, preferred to stay in the African market where he feels safer than at home.

Everyone is required to be in their houses by six in the evening. Boro, Njeri’s other son hasn’t arrived. Worried, Njeri and Kori go out to the night to look for him. Before they’ve gone far, they hear a commanding voice to stop where they’re.

Ngotho and Nyokabi peer through the door. With a heaviness of heart, Ngotho goes back to his stool. Nyokabi, who returns seconds later, tells Njoroge they’ve taken Njeri and Kori away.

Boro arrives. Sensing there must be something wrong, he asks them. His father tells him. Boro, angry, asks his father why he hasn’t done anything about it. Ngotho tries to offer an explanation, but Boro doesn’t want to hear of it. He leaves.

In the evening of the following day, Njoroge tells his mother about a notice they saw on a wall. It warned the headmaster and the children if they continued going to school, they’ll be beheaded. His mother tells him he’ll not go to school anymore. However, Kamau urges him not to leave school. The notice, signed under Kimathi’s name, might not be genuine. And, there’s nowhere safe to stay. Njoroge purposes he’ll not to quit going to school.

Njeri, Ngotho’s first wife, is released. Kori will be sent to a detention camp.

Chapter 11

The situation in the country is deteriorating. Many people are taken to forests where they’re killed by European soldiers who falsely boast they’ve killed Mau Mau fighters (who under an oath are fighting against Europeans to leave their land).

On a Saturday, Njoroge visits Kamau at his workplace in the African market (where African shops are lined in one section of Kipanga town). Njoroge enquires why there is an uneasy calmness in the town. Kamau reveals to him that the murdered bodies of the barber and Nganga, and four others, had been found in the forest.

Three days later, Njoroge hears a voice calling him as he heads home from the marketplace. It is Mwihaki. They talk for some time. She reveals to him she is lonely as people avoid her (the reason being her father is a Chief thereby he’s betrayed his people by siding with the whites). Njoroge pities her. He tells her they should meet close to his home so they can go together to church.

In the evening, after they leave the church, they walk on an old path. Mwihaki asks him to go with her to their home. Njoroge protests against it, but finally agrees. She goes to the kitchen while he looks at the portraits hanged on the wall.

He hears sounds of feet at the door. He rushes to sit on a chair. Fear gripping his heart, he seats on the edge of the chair. Jacob, his wife, and three homeguards enter.

Afterwards, they go to a hill. Mwihaki promises him to see her when she gets back from school.

Chapter 12

Howlands asks Jacob whether he’s certain Boro is leading the gang that is in the same fashion of Mau Mau fighters. Jacob hands him a note he found at the foot of the door of his home in an envelope. It reads, “STOP YOUR MURDERING ACTIVITIES. OR ELSE WE SHALL COME FOR YOUR HEAD. THIS IS OUR LAST WARNING. He reveals he’s received another of the same kind. Howlands is furious that he’s kept quiet about it. He tells him if he needs more homeguards, he can have them.

Njoroge and a young man are in the lead of a procession. Behind them are women and some men, including the young men’s teacher, Isaka. They’re holding a Bible and a hymn book; heading to a wooded area near a particular hill for spiritual worship. It’s on the morning of January.

The two young men hear a voice commanding them to stop. Both young men stop. In front of them is a white military officer. He orders them to raise their hands, and move forward. A pistol is pointed towards them by the white man. They’re told to get on their knees, and produce their documents. The women have been allowed to go.

Njoroge and the young man, Mucatha, produce letters written by their former headmaster which identifies them as pupils. The other men are not lucky. One of them is beaten until he urinates on himself. Isaka has squatted, and watching what’s going in a calmly state. He is asked for the documents. He replies he didn’t carry them. Is he a Mau Mau fighter? No. He’s a follower of Jesus. He’s taken to a wooded area where he’s tortured, and killed.

Boro is sitting with his lieutenant in a new hideout. Boro, the leader of a group of freedom fighters, tells his lieutenant he’ll personally kill Jacob because he hasn’t headed their warning.

Chapter 13

Njoroge is the only boy in his village who has gained recommendal marks to join high school. Mwihaki too has passed but her marks haven’t reached the required score to join high school. Instead, she’ll be enrolled in a teachers’ training institution that’s close to her school.

Chapter 14

He joins Siriana Secondary School. There he discovers a reality that he didn’t know existed. He’ll be taught by white teachers. They are good to him which baffles him. He also meets other boys from different tribes. He realizes he can be angry at them like the boys in his village.

The school takes part in interschool sports competitions. On this particular day, Siriana’s football team will be playing against Hill’s School. Hill School admits European students.

As a spectator, he comes across another spectator from Hills School. It happens to be Stephen, the last-born son of Mr. Howlands. They talk for some time. Stephen reveals to Njoroge that he’d longed to speak to him while he’s young but feared him. Njoroge discloses to him that was also the case with him. He tells Njoroge that he and his mother will go back to their parents’ country of birth (but he doesn’t want to go there).

Chapter 15

On the third term of his first year in high school, Njoroge is called to the headmaster’s office. The headteacher consoles and encourages him without telling him why he’s doing that.

Filled with apprehension, he is taken into a car by two police officers. In a particular homeguard post, Njoroge is questioned in connection with the killing of Jacob. Who killed him? Where is Boro? He’s beaten whenever he gives an unexpected answer. The next day, he’s taken to the same room where he’s interrogated, and tortured.

On the third day, he’s released together with his mother.

Ngotho, not knowing where he’s gained the courage, walks towards the DO’s office. He presents himself as Jacob’s killer. He’s tortured for several days to reveal the real killer, but he insists he is the actual killer.

Chapter 16

Nyokabi and Njeri are sitting in a corner of Nyokabi’s hut, tears streaming from their eyes. Ngotho, struggling to lie on one side, opens his eyes. His two wives move nearer to the bed. He looks at each of his two wives before his eyes rest on Njoroge.

Later, Boro enters the hut. He kneels besides the bed, and asks for forgiveness from his father. His father asks him to stay but he replies he can’t. He stands up and whispers that he should have arrived earlier.

He exits. Njoroge and the two women turn their heads to look at Ngotho. They become aware like Boro, Ngotho will never return to them.

Chapter 17

Njoroge is working for an Indian man. The lack of school fees, and the needs at home has forced him to look for a job. Nonetheless, Njoroge is chased from his job. He’s been working for the Indian, his first job, for less than a month.

Chapter 18

Mwihaki stands from where she’s sitting – outside her new home in the homeguard post – and goes behind the house. She takes out a small note, and reads it. She’d pledged to herself she wouldn’t want to see Njoroge after learning his family killed her father.

They meet, and Njoroge asks for forgiveness for the murder of her father that’s committed by one of the members of his family. Mwihaki develops a different thought from the one she’d held of Njoroge. She tells him, “I’m sorry for having thought ill of you.”

Njoroge wants her to go with him to Uganda or another country to escape the problems that are facing their village, and the country. Mwihaki tells him they’ve responsibilities to take care of e.g. taking care of her mother, and they should wait when their country will gain independence. She stands, and leaves him; weeping on her way to home.

The following day, Njoroge leaves her mothers. He wants to roam in the village on his own. Her mother doesn’t ask him.

He walks on a path that leads to a big and broad road. He thinks of his family. His father is dead. Boro will be executed in a few days. Kamau will be imprisoned for life. The two are charged for killing Jacob and Howlands. He doesn’t know what will happen to Kori.

He follows the road until he arrives at the plain where he last spoke to Mwihaki. He has come to that place many times.

He sits on a rock. He takes out a rope he’d knotted. He holds it with pleasure, waiting for the darkness to engulf the region.

He stands before a tree that was familiar to him. He puts the knotted rope on one of the branches of the tree.

He hears his mother calling him. At the second mention of his name, he responds. His mother clungs to him. She doesn’t ask him anything. They walk back home in silence.

He feels guilty as he contemplates how he’s let down his father who asked him to take care of her mother, Nyokabi, and stepmom, Njeri, before he died. He also feels guilty for failing his mother, and Mwihaki who had asked him to wait for a new day.

They meet Njeri who was following Nyokabi in search of Njoroge.



From the novel weep Not Child the author portrays the following:

The title of the Novel

“Weep Not Child: This symbolizes people suffering. It is very relevant to the story itself because the author has shown that the characters have suffered from poverty taking an example to Ngotho’s family who have even no house to accommodate them.

  • Also characters have been portrayed to have been suffering from ignorance as evidenced to Ngotho’s family where almost the whole family has never attended to school with an exception of Njoroge whose dream is also denied by the colonialists because they arrest him from the school as a suspect to have been taken Maumau oath.
  • Characters are portrayed to suffer from excessive oppression, humiliation as well as intimidation done by the whites. This is also widely seen on the way Njoroge is dismissed from the school. Ngotho and other Africans who suspected to have been involved in Maumau war are killed; tortured hence insecurity grew among Africans.
  • Characters are suffering from disunity as well as result of betrayal and puppets made by some few Africans. Taking an example to Jacobo who can’t unite with his fellow Africans since he is regarded to be puppet to the whites. There is a war (Maumau) which ultimately causes fear and insecurity among Africans to the extent that people are crying.

In this case the author tries to portray that the children (people) of Africa should not cry rather they have to work hard in meeting their set goals.



  1. Ngotho.
  • He is the husband of Nyokabi and Njeri as well as the father of Boro, Kamau, Kori, Njoroge and Mwangi.
  • He is an ex-soldier who fought during the Second World War in favor for the British colonial rule.
  • He has no land to settle with his family. Thus he is a squatter in Jacobo’s land and affirm laborer in Mr. Holland’s farm.
  • He succeeds in maintaining peace in his family but the peace was disturbed after all clung Jacob.
  • He is a polygamous since he posses two wives, Njeri and Nyokabi.
  • He is in a conflict with Jacob because Jacob sold his land to Mr. Howland when Ngotho was in the war.
  • He is a nationalist because he mobilized his fellow Africans to fight against the whites.


  • African traditions like polygamy may have positive impact to people’s life. We see Ngotho’s family loves each other particularly on how they support Njoroge to join school despite being polygamous.
  • Extended families in Africa always create burden to families. This is shown on the way Ngotho fails to take his children to school because of large number of family he has.
  • The movement to liberation is not a simple phenomenon since it is characterized by torture as seen to Ngotho who is highly tortured.
  1. Njoroge.
  • He is the son of Ngotho and Ngotho.
  • He has the ambition of studying hard thus he is a hard worker as he believes that only education will liberate the Kenyan.
  • He is accused by the police to have taken the Mau Mau oath.
  • He is taken from his boarding school under the escort of police officers to join his parent in a home guard post. Hence he is taken from his boarding school under the escort of the police.
  • He is a honest boy as he embraces/behaves like an African boy by respecting his parents and others.
  • He is a friend of Mwihaku, He attempts to commit suicide but is saved by his step mothers.


  1. Poverty limits a child to get access to basic needs. Children like Njoroge cannot get better clothing because of poor living conditions found in the families.
  2. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Here we see that true friends support each other in time of need. This is shown on the way Mwihaki and Njoroge provide mutual relationship.
  3. Young people can establish the best and successful relationship. The author shows how Mwihaki and Njoroge relationship is good in a sense that it proves that the relationship between girls and boys does not only mean love affairs only.
  4. Hard working is the father to success. The author shows how Njoroge studies hard where the result of his commitment and struggle is good performance he gets.
  1. Jacobo.
  • He is a rich African farmer.
  • He is a betrayer because he the only Africa allowed by the whites to grow pyrethrum in the land.
  • He is a father of two children Mwihaki and Lucia.
  • He is against the African who protest against colonial rule. Thus he is a puppet and selfish person because he support the whites at the expense of other African
  • He is hypocrisy as seen on the way he chases away Ngotho from works to Mr. How lands.
  • He is killed by Boro as revenge to the cruel rule he was exercising on the native Kenyan.
  • He represents few Africans who are ready to endanger other fellow men for their own sake


  1. Puppetism extends domination of African by foreigners. Good example is cited to Jacob who causes his fellow Africans to be extremely dominated by the whites because of his speculations he made from Africans towards the whites.
  2. Betrayal is bad as it causes conflict and ultimately may lead into the killing. This is evidenced on the way Jacobo’s betrayal causes his death as he receive a sound beating from Africans who are indeed furious and dissatisfied with his deeds.
  • He is a white settler who owns large plot of land
  • He never think of returning back home in Europe because of richness of the land in Kenya.
  • He is harsh as well as racist as seen on how he harshly treats Africans who work for him
  • He is an oppressor as well as exploiter to Africans because they worked to his farm for long hours but received very low payment
  • He has a son whom he decided to take him back to stay in Europe.
  • Like other Europeans he represents group of the foreigners who tend to torture and victimize Africans by despising their ways of life as well as making them serve as their servant


(i) From Mr. How lands we get a lesson that white’s investment in Africa may have bad intentions. This is evidenced on the way how settlers like Mr. How lands who has no eve a dream of leaving the continent (Africa) because of heavy investment that they have invested. Some whites/settlers have settled in Africa forever.

(ii) Foreigners especially whites have nothing substantial to Africans rather their self gain. This is shown on the way Mr. How lands uses Ngotho as a cheap labor who then assumes positively by working very hard as a result Mr. Howland is not concerned on his economic hardship that faces him what he real cares is only his labor power.

  1. Njeri.
  • She is the first wife of Ngotho.
  • She is the mother of Boro, Kamau and Kori.
  • She cares her family very well. So as her family members are united.
  1. NJERI
  • She is Ngotho’s first wife as well as the mother of Boro, Kamau and Kori
  • She cares her family very well
  • She respects his husband too.
  1. Nyokabi.
  • She is the second wife of Ngotho.
  • She is the mother of Njoroge and Mwangi.
  • She cares the family very well and unites it.
  • She is intelligent woman.
  • She makes sure that her son goes to school.
  • She is tortured and victimized.
  1. Teacher Isaka.
  • He teaches in primary school.
  • He is killed when his trek is discovered by the white man
  • He uses the church and religion to incite the natives against the white man’s rule.
  1. Mwihaki.
  • She is the youngest daughter of Jacobo.
  • She is the closest friend of Njoroge.
  • She is kind girl because she supported Njoroge from the group of young boys who planned to harass him
  • She suffers from alienation because of status of her parents.




The term exploitation refers to misuse of human resources without paying proper benefit for it. In the book, the author has shown that the white men exploit the poor natives who work for them in the farms. Ngotho is an illustrative evidence of the exploited Africans. Africans are taken by force to fight in the World War II, the war which is none of their concern. As a result, they are losing their land. Ngotho, Nganga, Boro and Barber are good examples of people who were exploited.

Exploitation is vividly practiced in many parts of the world Tanzania in particular since majority among the Tanzanians do not receive what they actually deserve to. Different workers in government and private owned institutions are extremely exploited through their labor. We should ensure that all sorts (elements) of exploitation are uprooted if at all we real need to build a just society.


This is an action of having more than one wife. In the novel the author has shown this by using Ngotho who has two wife’s Njeri and Nyokabi. However, the existence of two wives in one house, they live in peaceful way to the extent that they allow Njoroge who is born from the junior mother (Nyokabi) to join the school and the whole family agreed to support him including his brothers from elder wife (Njeri). The tendency of polygamy is real seen in many African societies where many families do practice it despite the prevalence of some discrepancies attached to it more especially misunderstanding among them. To this there is a need to create mutual love and affection for smooth upbringing our family.


Awareness can simply be referred to the knowledge that someone has about something good or bad that existing within the society. In the book the author shows that many people in Kenya are aware of the situation in the country that is why they decide to form a group of fighting against the actions of white men. Also Mwihaki and Njoroge are aware of their parent’s enormity. More over the family of Ngotho is aware of what happened during and after the world war. Awareness is vividly seen to majority in Tanzania particularly on government deeds like corruption, nepotism as well as other social upheavals. We should therefore strive in avoiding all issues that may contribute to failure of our progress.


Protest refers to the act of expressing strong disagreement with or opposition to something. This disagreement may be either positive or negative. In the book, the author shows that people in Kenya protest against the actions of forced labor land alienation, heavy taxation, and harsh treatment which are done by whites. This is shown by Mau Mau fighters. Equally important, the practice of protest is very much seen in our society where we live in particularly when undesirably action happens. To this people have been protesting against the action of killing of albinism, early marriage, excessive drinking and indeed immoral behaviors that leads to chaos and shame to the society members. It is worthy while for the society to stand still in fighting for society’s rights without any sort of hesitation.


The term womanization refers to the act of a man involving in sexual relationship with many different women who are not legally married with. In the novel, the author has used teacher Isaka who is a woman lover. He loves girls and woman for sexual affairs. The habit of womanization is real happening in many societies where men tend to involve init by having several partners without taking into an account that the action may results to the spread of deadly disease like HIV and infringe (affects) their future dream put in place. In this case society has to bear in mind that wominazation is a bad act since it may results into economic mis appropriation, it also results into conflicts and worse still it contributes to loss of man power necessary to national development. Thus the concerned individuals/groups should get rid of it.


The term poverty refers to the state of not being able to get basic needs due to limitation of resources. In other word the term refers to inability of a person to meet his/her basic needs such as food, shelter and clothes. In the novel, Ngotho is portrayed as a poor African who owns nothing except his labor power as a results he decided to work as a laborer to Mr. Howland’s farm for meager (low) payment. It is because of poverty his son Njoroge is seen being laughed by fellow children at school because of poor dresses he put on (torn clothes). Poverty has is a common thing to many people in the world Tanzania in particular when people who lives in rural and even urban live in poverty line. This is because they don’t have access to better health services; they fail to maintain eating diet as a result the only way forward such society can do is to work hard in different sectors by using their manual laborers in order to minimize hardship in their life.

Role of women

this refers to the way on how women contribute either positively or negatively in the society. In this book the author has portrayed women differently. Woman as good advisor. To this the author shows how Nyokabi (Ngothos’s wife) advises his husband (Ngotho) from not joining the movement because she real new that his (Ngotho’s) involvement would affect the stability of the family. Since women are not given access in front of men when it comes issues to make decision, Ngotho what her wife (Nyokabi) advised him and decided to join the movement leading him to be charged to have been among the organizer of the movements against colonialism. In our society, women have been key figures in bringing positive harmony to the development especially at family level, individual and indeed national levels because they hold leadership positions through that they engineer development.


The term betrayal is defined as the act of not being faithful to something or someone. In other word it refers to the act of going the agreement made by two. In the novel, there are many actions which show the denial of people to his/her fellow friends. The author shows how Jacob betrays his fellow Africans for accepting to join the white man’s government. Ngotho betrays his family when he attacks Jacobo. A lot of tension exists between the two friends, especially his brother, Njoroge by killing Jacob. This leads to dismissal of Njoroge from school. The tendency of betrayal is commonly seen in our society since family members betray one another; political leaders are the leading bodies in betraying their citizen’s above all religious leaders do the same. We have to find way out of getting rid of it.



The term conflict refers to the collision or disagreement between two or more opposing sides. It can also involve an individual. In the Novel the novelist has portrayed different misunderstandings (conflicts). The conflict between the natives and the white man’s government and also there is a family conflict between Ngotho’s family and Jacobi’s. The conflict between Mr.Howlands and his wife has been shown by the author. Intra – personal conflict is present to Ngotho, Boro, Njoroge Mwihaki, and Jacobo. These conflicts are categorized as follows;

Interpersonal conflict

This refers to that conflict that occurs between one person and another. In the novel, the author has shown this by giving the conflict between Ngotho and Jacob. This is because Jacob is claimed to have sold Ngotho’s plot to the white settlers (Mr. Howland). To add on that there is a conflict between Jacob and his fellow Africans. This conflict emanates from the fact that Jacob is has hypocritical tendency as he used to disclose the secret set in place by Africans to the whites.

Intra-person conflict

This refers to the conflict that occurs within or someone’s mind. The author shows that Njoroge has been affected to this type of conflict ore especially after being dismissed out of the school while he formerly believed that it is only education that will liberate the Kenyans.

To this he then decides to kill himself (suicide). Equally important the boy (Njoroge) faces intra-personal conflict due to the fact that his parents has put impossible conditions to him from not being closer to Mwihaki whom they love each other.

  • Family conflict: This refers to the conflict that involves the members of the family only. In the book book, the author has shown different kinds of family conflicts like a conflict between Ngotho and his wife. This conflict emanates from the fact that Ngotho never honor the advice posed out by her wife (Nyokabi) not to join the African’s movement because it may brings contradiction to the family.
  • Political conflict: This refers to the conflict in which members of different countries/nations come into different misunderstanding over the political affairs. In the book, the author shows that the Kenyans organized Maumau war against the whites in order to bring political stability and to stamp all kind of dictatorial tendencies rooted among the whites to them.
  • Economic conflict: This is a type of conflict whereby there is class/social stratification among the people. In the book, the author has shown this type of conflict citing an example to Jacob who enjoys from the favor given by the whites while the majority (Africans) suffers by being paid low wages. Also the whites enjoy the African resources including land found in Africa while majority among Africans (Kenyans) live in a poverty lines.


The conflicts discussed in this novel have been as a result of the following reasons:

  1. Betrayal: This has shown on the way Jacob assumes a betrayal to Africans to the extent that different enmity among them grew steadily.
  2. Poor/bad leadership or government. in the book, the author has shown that the British colonial government was too dictator, oppressor and exploiter to Africans, hence Africans have to resist against the system.
  3. Presence of lasses. This is to say, the rich and the poor blame one another. In the novel, the author has shown that there is a very big gap between Africans and the whites. Africans led by Ngotho work as laborers to earn their living while the whites led by Mr. How lands exploit the Africans.
  4. Violation of human rights: In the book for example, the author has shown that Kenyans were killed, tortured and victimized by the whites while are innocent. Good example Njoroge is dismissed out from the school to join the Maumau activist just because his father (Ngotho) is a suspected to be among the Maumau activists. Similarly, Ngotho’s wives (Njeri and Nyokabi) are taken to the detention camp while they never involve in the Maumau war but their husband (Ngotho) is charged for it.


Any conflict within the society results into the following effects;

  • It brings insecurity among the society members to the point of fairing to involve in the whole process of economic development
  • It results into sufferings of the masses. Good example is Teacher Isaak who actually lost his job also Njoroge dismissed out from the school
  • It results into loss of life. Good example id Jacobo and Dedan Kimathi who were killed as a result of the conflict
  • It accelerates into violation of human rights. As seen to many Kenyans are being forced to detention camp irrespective of their neither gender nor age.

Other themes in this novel include;

Colonial rule and Dictator Ship

Mr. How lands and Jacob are dictators. They use force on the natives who attempt to protest against the colonial government.

The family of Ngotho is victimized in order to safeguard the well being of the white man and his farm/ wealth. The natives are tortured by the police officers in order to make them confess to have taken the oath some of the natives are quite innocent of what has taken place.


The Mau Mau fighters are seen fighting for a chance in the country. They organize protests and revenge against the white men.

People are sacrificing their life so as to bring change in the society. The freedom fighters are patriotic to their country and society in general.


There is fear among the natives because they are not sure of their safety. A state os emergency has been announced. People are killed here and there. Jacob, Mr. How lands, Nganga, the barber Isaka and many others lose their lives unexpectedly. The presence of curfew and detention camps shows that the life was not secure. E.g.: Ngotho is beaten and died.


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