The River Between explores life on the Makuyu and Kameno ridges of Kenya in the early days of white settlement. Faced with an alluring new religion and “magical” customs, the Gikuyu people are torn between those who fear the unknown and those who see beyond it. Some follow Joshua and his fiery brand of Christianity. Others proudly pursue tribal independence. In the midst of this disunity stands Waiyaki, a dedicated visionary born to a line of prophets. He struggles to educate the tribe—a task he sees as the only unifying link between the two factions—but his plans for the future raise issues which will determine both his own and the Gikuyu’s survival. The River Between is revelatory and moving, lucidly capturing the drama of a people and culture whose world has been overturned, and an essential story of the post-colonial African experience.
The River Between
Written while Ngugi wa Thiongo was persecuted by the colonial Kenyan government, The River Between is an impassioned cry for Kenyans to hew to their culture and, as one of the first examinations of the disastrous effects of westernization on indigenous cultures, has had profound influences on Africa and on African literature.
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