Ngugi wa Thiong’o Talks on Decolonising the Mind in South Africa
Acclaimed Writer Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Interrupted During UCT Lecture
A lecture by Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o was briefly interrupted by students on Friday, with one telling him to ask the “oppressors to leave” the venue before his address.
Wa Thiong’o was invited by the University of Cape Town (UCT) to address staff and students in the Baxter Theatre on the topic of decolonisation.
The Mail & Guardian’s Milisuthando Bongela tweeted that sociology professor Xolela Mangcu went on stage to decline the student’s request, saying it would be disrespectful for Wa Thiong’o to do so.
In her tweet Bongela said the audience clapped in agreement while there were murmurs from some sections.
Later, Wa Thiong’o had to pause his speech when a woman walked on stage carrying a protest poster.
The poster read: “SAn Edukation system is excluding poor, black disabled people.”
Rhode’s absence ‘symbolic’
The 79-year-old Wa Thiong’o apparently asked to read the poster after which he continued with the lecture as the woman remained seated on the stage.
Wa Thiong’o’s lecture was on the inequalities between Africa and Europe.
He recalled seeing a statue of Cecil John Rhodes when he arrived at UCT several years ago, journalist Pippa Green tweeted.
Wa Thiong’o said that he didn’t see it on Friday had symbolic importance, Green said.
Wa Thiong’o also discussed the importance of knowing one’s mother tongue, saying knowing the languages of the world but not your own is enslavement.
Wa Thiong’o said Africa had been told it needs the globe, but can only access it through English, Green tweeted.
The defenders of English in Africa, he said, are intellectuals and policymakers.