Originally Aired May 17, 2018
7:00 -8:15 pm EST / 6:00 – 7:15 pm CST / 4:00 – 5:15 pm PST
“The novel is set in the early 1950s as the MauMau movement was gathering strength in the “White” Highlands. When the boy Kariuki meets “mzungu” (white guy), the grandson of the plantation owner, the story takes off. As the boys become closer friends, their surrounding world becomes more fearful and violent. Still, the two boys try to have fun together and understand each other’s strange ways. …. Readers will learn much about the nature and brutality of colonialism from this novel and its effect on ordinary people.” (Barbara Brown)
“Mwangi’s work won the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturepreis by winning the hearts and minds of both youth and adult jury members, no small accomplishment.” (Lori Walker)
- Get ready: The Mzungu Boy Bibliography
- Join the online discussion: Wednesday, May 17th with Meja Mwangi, Kenyan author of The Mzungu Boy. The novel explores the nature and brutality of British colonialism in Kenya during the “Mau-Mau” rebellion in the 1950s.
- Moderator: Wambui Githiora-Updike, Ed.D.- retired teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and author of Wanjira, a Novel
Once a month, the World Area Book Awards, [Américas Award, Middle East Book Award, South Asia Book Award, and Children’s Africana Book Award/CABA] sponsor a 60 minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards and facilitate a discussion with the author on how to incorporate the book into the classroom. The spring Global Read Webinar Reading Across Culture series focuses on social justice. We encourage you to read the books with your colleagues, students, and community, and then join us to hear more from the author.
The Children’s Africana Book Award is sponsored by the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association.
Naidoo, Beverley. Burn My Heart. New York, NY : HarperCollins / Amistad, 2009
Anderson, David. Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire. Norton, 2005.
Boston University. Mau Mau Rebellion.
Boston University Reviews of The Mzungu Boy.
Brown, Barbara. The Mzungu Boy (Review) Africa Access Review..
I especially appreciate the book for telling an important story well-the story of settler colonialism in Kenya. Mzungu Boy offers a tonic to the disturbingly widespread Out of Africa syndrome, where the whites are strong pioneers out there alone facing an unforgiving environment. In Mzungu Boy we learn the same story, but from the opposite perspective, that of a young boy whose father works long harsh hours as the cook for a white settler family.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Weep Not Child. Penguin Classics; Reprint edition, 2012.
Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a garbage heap and look into their futures: Njoroge is to attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. But this is Kenya, and the times are against them: In the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau, the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.
The first East African novel published in English, Weep Not, Child is a moving book about the effects of the infamous Mau Mau uprising on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular.
The contents of this project were developed under grant #P015A140031 from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.