Volume 6, No. 1, January 2005


Condemn Dastardly Attack on Ngugi wa Thiong’o and wife Njeeri in Kenya


On 11 August, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and his wife Njeeri were attacked by some anti-social elements when the couple went back to Kenya after a gap of 22 years for the release of Ngugi’s latest book. They were brutally beaten up, their apartment ransacked, and the most condemnable of all: 58 years old Njeeri was gang raped by the goons to humiliate and degrade the rebel voice. He was burnt by cigarette butts on his face. This whole incident is highly condemnable and arouses disgust, rage among the lovers of national cultures and national languages around the world.

Famous novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o spoke out for the first time on the shocking attack in which thugs tortured him and sexually assaulted his wife. The US-based literary scholar revealed to a hushed press conference that his wife Njeeri was raped when gunmen subjected them to an hour-long ordeal in their executive city apartment.

But the 65-year-old former detainee, who was visiting Kenya for the first time in 22 years, bravely declared that the attack would neither kill his spirit nor make him hate his motherland.

"There is a saying that we should not let people who do not like what we are doing kill our spirit. We are continuing with our programmes as soon as doctors give us a clean bill of health. I cannot let the Kenyan people down," he said. A four-man gang forced their way into the Ngugis’ flat at Norfolk Towers in the city centre on Thursday and beat up Prof Ngugi, torturing him with burning cigarettes and whipping him with the butt of a pistol. It happened barely a fortnight after they had jetted into the country to a red-carpet reception.

Yesterday he revealed that the gang also raped Njeeri as he and a colleague, who was also in the flat, struggled with the thugs.

"In her case it was not attempted rape. It was rape, period," he sadly told a press conference at Nairobi Hospital attended by local and international journalists The confession was unsolicited, with Prof Ngugi offering the clarification as an afterthought. A statement on the attack issued last week by his publisher referred to "attempted rape" Asked whether he regretted coming back to Kenya, Prof Ngugi declared: "I am a Kenyan. This is my country for better and for worse." The couple first held lengthy consultations with the don’s physician, Dr Dan Gikonyo, and psychiatrist Dr Frank Njenga before the press conference. It had been scheduled for 1pm but did not take place until almost 3.45pm. Looking pale but composed, Prof Ngugi walked into the hospital’s lecturer room flanked by the two doctors and East African Education Publishers managing director, Mr Barrak Muluka, who is in charge of his itinerary. He wore a white hospital robe and sandals. A healing wound on the left side of his forehead - reportedly inflicted with a burning cigarette - stood out on his face.

They burst in through the door and made them lie down in different parts of the room before beginning their sustained attack.

The gang, armed with two pistols, a machete and a pair of wire cutters, burst into the bedroom where his wife had been sleeping and, when Prof Ngugi heard her scream, he ran to her rescue but was beaten off and burned on the face with cigarettes.

Prof Ngugi said he called the press conference — his first since being admitted to hospital — to let Kenyans know that he and his wife had fully recovered.

Five security guards have been arrested by police investigating the attack. Detectives are trying to discover how the four-man gang was able to lie in wait near his heavily guarded apartment for four hours before carrying out the vicious assault.





Home  |  Current Issue  |  Archives  |  Revolutionary Publications  |  Links  |  Subscription

<<  Previous Issue  |  Next Issue  >>