Ngugi wa Thiong'o is one of Africa's most famous writers. His novels, plays, essays and speeches have earned him an international reputation as an articulate spokesman not just for Africa but for the entire Third World as well. His writings, rooted in historical and material realities, have always been politically engaged, arguing a case for the poor and oppressed who, as victims of economic exploitation and cultural domination by the West and by some of their own national leaders, have sought to liberate themselves by resisting the forces that hold them down. He has become a champion of the dispossessed, an inspiring advocate for freedom, justice and human rights for all the downtrodden peoples of the world. Ngugi wa Thiong'o's evolution as a thinker can be discerned in the conversations collected here. The earliest, recorded forty years ago, reflect his interest in exploring events in Kenya's colonial past that had a profound impact on his own people, the Kikuyu, and ultimately on his own life. More recent discussions focus on present conditions in Kenya and other parts of the Third World. Cumulatively the interviews reproduced here trace the trajectory of the author's intellectual engagement with his times, showing what he had in mind and how he chose to deal with the challenges confronting him. By eavesdropping on what he says, we can learn a lot not only about what Ngugi was thinking and doing at various stages of his career but also about what was happening in Africa before, during and after independence. Ngugi's words lead us to a deeper understanding of colonial and postcolonial history.
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An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela Samuels Young spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began