52 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Dreams in a Time of War

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 2005

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Pages 166-256

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Pages 166-176 Summary

Ngũgĩ devotes this part of the book to describing the forced closures of schools and their repurposing under colonial rule. He describes the closure of Kenya Teachers’ College as “a practical and psychological assault on the African initiative for self-reliance” (166). The college is now a notorious prison camp where officials execute dissidents. Ngũgĩ also notes changes to his school’s curriculum when it reopens in 1953 under government oversight. Manguo no longer is a center of music, performance, and communal festivities. Its curriculum focuses on the accomplishments of white people who, according to the new history textbooks, settled on “uninhabited” lands and brought “medicine, progress, and peace” to Africans (168).

Mr. Doran is a figure of this colonial oppression. He is a European inspector who visits Manguo to make sure teachers are following government orders. He expects the teachers to treat him like a superior and corrects their English grammatical mistakes in front of students, shaming them. One day a teacher, Josephat Karanja from Makerere University College in Uganda, arrives at Manguo. The students dislike him initially, but their feelings change when he refuses to defer to Mr. Doran. They regard him as a hero: “He had restored something we had lost, pride in our teachers, pride in ourselves” (170).