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Ugwuja, Amaechi Alex
WIZARD OF THE CROW
Ngugi has clearly shown in this breath-taking piece that he is not only a master in creative writing but undeniably an Africa ideologue. in treating despotism with a tinge of good humor, he shows that literature must instruct and entertain.
Dr. C. Channappa
Wizard of the Crow is a modern epic. Ngugi combines traditional values and modern confrontations very strongly. The merit lies in his use of oratory. The novel shows his wide knowledge of Indian epics such as the Ramayana and medicines. Read once before you leave this world.
Dominic J Kanaventi
The Wizard of the Crow - The Music of African Oral Art.
Ngugi has done those of us who might not not understand the rich African culture of oral story-telling a big favor by putting pen to paper and telling this wonderful story.
If only the wonderful fellow reviewers who contribute to this column understood how the old African grandpa and grandma used the rich traditional African art of oral story-telling to entertain and educate their great extended families - the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunts, and even the dear old mothers and fathers, as they sat around the fire enjoying cobs of freshly roasted corn, embellished with the flavor of sound, tone, and acting of the wise old grandpa, they would not dare talk of Ngugi's novel as being too long.
The African gurus of oral story-telling used story telling to teach and to train, to entertain and to discuss, to criticize and to praise, through observation, the ritual of the behavior and life of the people in the community.
They would tell stories and entertain the family until the wee hours of the morning when all the young kids would have long fallen asleep, huddled in the arms of their moms and aunts , or snoring in grandma's cozy old blanket. By then the adults in the family would be listening out for the uncensored conclusion of the satires of how the villains and culprits were to be treated - the heroes garlanded and rewarded for their worthy service to society, while the villains were condemned from and cast out never to live in the community and neighborhood of their birth. The baddies were usually ostracized for life.
Ngugi maintains the momentum of his story from beginning to end through the rich African art of oral story-telling. His nearly 800 pages of suspense in the Wizard of the Crow are a lively scattering of that rich African art.
Ngugi manages to expose the corruption of contemporary Africa, the encroachment of African authoritarianism and dictatorship; the cruelty and brutality of the once loved by-everybody African leaders, and how western aid is abused to prop up the worst dictatorships to survive with their brutality in Africa. In fact it exhibits the irony of how the west appears not to see or notice the corruption, while the people watch hopelessly as their corrupt leaders are wined and dined by the western powers. For daring to speak against them, autocratic African leaders are known to remove their critics through disappearances and traffic accidents; the people are afraid to utter a word, they dare not criticize their leaders or they are dead.
Ngugi cleverly takes us on a journey in the company of a present day African dictator and his cronies, through the corruption of the fattened politician, and how it eventually tapers down to the ordinary businessperson and the jack and jill in the street. The singing of praises to the leadership by the majority, using women to ululate and not see the illicit behavior of their leaders; and the emulation of power and leadership by the everyday ordinary persons, (the povho).
We see the corruption through the pretense and irony of these leaders at forced attendance political rallies, the hired crowds, puppeteering to their leaders' tunes.
But then the worst is when the povho feel like their hands are tied when the western donors and their governments seem surprised when the truth comes out that it may actually be western aid which sustains the dictatorships, and in turn the corruption and brutality of the leadership.
This story is an expose of the whiter than white African dictators who betray the cause of the war against white colonialism; who betray the spirit of African nationalism, who will never agree to relinquish power once they have tasted the splendor of presidential palaces, the honey and the caviar, while their people's children's skins peel off through starvation and kwashiokor.
It tells of the kaleidoscope of African politics in the landscape of squalor and disease; it talks of a woman's sacrifice through her persevering love of her man; and of the commitment of the man as breadwinner and sustainer of his woman's love through pain and sweetness; it tells of the hatred of a man against his neighbor; the stench and the life of the tin shacks in which beautiful secretaries live, adjacent to the beauty and aroma of high-rise office buildings; the loud noises, the wild sounds; and the traditional soothsayer chants emanating from all corners of the African ghetto; and the quiet noises of the fights for power among the politicians; the resonating fights from the midnight deals between the politicians and the corrupt government officials and businessmen; then the quiet silence of the lovely morning sun as Africa emerges into another day of corruption. Ngugi brings the reader's nostrils to smell the stench of corruption through almost vivid and picturesque views of the uncontrollable smells emitted by the large African dictator - the exemplification of the disease of corruption.
Ngugi skillfully lays out the intertwined stories of contemporary African society through the story of the heroes intertwined with the escapades and condemnation of the villains of African folklore.
Ngugi Wa Thiongo's Wizard of the crow provides a stunning portrayal of the feminine quest. It presents the woman as a very powerful and extremely determined person. Judging from my reading of this text, the woman is the pivot of the book. If she is taken out, then the book will be a sham. The woman provokes every action that arises in the novel and better still, even our protagonist has as his catalyst Nyawira. Kamiti's destiny comes to fulfillment, only when he is around Nyawira. when Kamiti again is inflicted by the"IF" syndrome, only the "limping witch" can take him out of this condition. furthermore, looking at the ruler, he realizes that the woman is not someone to join forces against. Eunice who was his biggest stumbling block had to join him through every means. That notwithstanding, the ruler keeps Racheal very far away from him when she starts questioning his involvement with school girls. the ruler knows very well that, hell has no fury than a woman's scorn. this, can further be justified when the ruler stays out of the country for so long, not caring about his citizens. He receives all sort of messages back home however, this did not propel him. he continued in his stay. the only thing that impel him to forgo this journey was ; women have started beating their husbands. this statement did not just frightened him, it scared him because he has recognized the strength of the woman.this forces him to leave America that very moment for home even in his critical condition.
LOVE, is the only antidote to this condition. The fury of a woman can only be neutralized by genuine love. To elaborate on this , one has to look at Tarjirika , who after he is threatened by the women for beating his wife, goes home and cries to the creation of the fountain of arrested motions. This place was like a cursed land that arrested any living thing that comes into contact with it. This curse however is broken by the genuine love that Mariko and Maritha share. Wizard of the Crow is just propagating that, men and women in society must work together as one. for a society to be in balance, these two have to work in harmony and not relegating one to the background like tarjirika did. His success only comes to fulfillment when he starts combining force with his wife which helps him to be the new ruler.