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'Power-Culture-Ecology-Psyche'
Visions of Interconnections in the Writing of Ngugi wa Thiong'o



Chris Campbell

PhD Candidate,
Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies,
University of Warwick, UK

C.M.Campbell@warwick.ac.uk

Abstract

This article seeks to explore the relationship between literature and the processes of global development in its colonial, neo-colonial and 21st century manifestations. It will demonstrate, through an examination of the critical and creative writings of Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o, how discourses of resistance to economic dispossession and social injustice resulting from continuing forms of colonialism across the globe can be constructed. Such resistive discourse can be located within the coalition of socialist and ecologist ideologies, and the overlap between ecocriticism backbone to resistance of the exploitation of neo-colonialism in the new century.and postcolonialism as critical, cultural theories. Ngugi conjures visions of the interrelation of phenomena in the world and demonstrates the nexus between people and planet, languages and landscapes. In his assertion of cultural production as a result of natural environment he is able: to expose the false nature of the supposed divisions of perception that lie between fields of study; and to elide the distance between presumably oppositional ways of thought, bringing them into an interconnected vision of wholeness. The article also seeks to situate the writing of Ngugi alongside the work of fellow writers, contemporaries and predecessors, who posses concordant, radical postcolonial and ecological vision. In this way, the article hopes to demonstrate how visions of interconnection - intra-textual, inter-textual and extra-textual - might form the intellectual and cultural.

Keywords: Literature, Postcolonialism, Ecocriticism, Ecology and Interconnection, Neo-colonialism and Globalisation.

Editorial Note

This paper was presented at the 'Postcolonial Studies Workshop on the Oeuvre of Ngugi wa Thiong'o' at the University of Warwick in February 2003 on the occasion of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's stay as Visiting Fellow of the Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick. The editors would like to thank Neil Lazarus and Benita Parry for permission to publish the proceedings of the workshop.


This is a conference paper published on 20 January 2004.

Citation: Campbell, C, ''Power-Culture-Ecology-Psyche' Visions of Interconnections in the Writing of Ngugi wa Thiong'o', Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal (LGD) 2003 (2), <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/global/2003-2/campbell.html>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/2003_2/campbell/>


Art should expose, reflect, even magnify the decadent, rotten
underbelly of a society that has lost its direction
- Wole Soyinka

I believe in the connectedness of phenomena:
power - culture - ecology - psyche
- Ngugi wa Thiong'o

1. Interconnection and Resistance

Political possession, legal ownership and the freedom to inhabit a geographical space is indivisible from a historical and psychological sense of connection to that land. Indeed, the cultural strength emanating from a bond between peoples and the landscape of their homeland/ heartland is evident in the essays, novels and plays written by Ngugi wa Thiong'o over the past five decades. If the responsibility of the intellectual or artist in any society is that of 'speaking the truth to power' (Said, 1994, p 65), then Ngugi fully realises this role with his interconnected artistic vision which proves to be a critical site of resistance and truth in the face of repeated attempts, colonial and neo-colonial, at dispossession and estrangement of the Kenyan peoples from their lands.

The concept of 'interconnection' as a method of perceiving the world, and humanity's place within it, erases the cultural distance between false binaries often positioned as antithetical - culture and nature, city and village - and allows observation of the totality of existence upon the earth. This concept is derived from a theory of ecological science which proposes the notions of interdependence or 'tight- coupling' of human and non-human life and, furthermore, the interdependence of life on non-life; the earth as self-regulatory, feedback system (Lovelock, 2000). Perception or comprehension of these 'tight-coupling' ecosystems in the place of binary oppositions therefore can produce visions of a totality which is un-hierarchical; privileging neither the human or the non-human but rather which views the earth and environment as a process1. This ecological view of totality is especially useful when examining Ngugi's own presentation of power distribution and power relations not only between human characters themselves, but also their impact upon the extra-human environment. In his depiction of the treatment of the natural world as well as the people who inhabit it, he has developed a language of resistance derived from a deep sense of possession of the land.

The artistic mission of Ngugi, then, is a continuing struggle for repossession of the land; in psychological and in political terms. Here, his manifesto for interconnection - power, culture, ecology, psyche - echoes his recent critical output in which he sites art, more specifically an African aesthetic of art, as the signifier of interconnection in society:

The interconnection between phenomena [is] captured in the image of the circle, the central symbol of the African aesthetic … There is a oneness of nature as the underlying principle of the universe. Whatever is - human beings, animals, plants, birds, stones, air, stars, time, space, and their activities - is an expression of that nature (Ngugi, 1998, p 116).

This is an interconnected vision that moves beyond anthropocentrism in its call for justice. Ngugi, with his espousal of an ecological African aesthetic form, joins ranks with other artists from once-colonised nations who are at the vanguard of calls for social and environmental change, global justice, and change in policy and perception. Such interrogations of multinational capitalism - which has its historical roots in the Atlantic slave trade and colonisation in Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia that followed - demonstrate that the same imperialist ideologies that provided the intellectual and cultural justification for the exploitative missions of Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries now drive commercial, ecological and 'Coca-Cola colonisation' around the globe. The evidence of such exploitation - rampant industrialism, profit led extraction of mineral wealth, marketing of damaging mass tourism - leads in many cases to species depletion, habitat loss, disruption of the ways of life and cultural practices of communities. Wilson Harris's response to the Omai Mine disaster in Guyana in 1995, Arundhati Roy's campaigning against the Narmada dam project and nuclear proliferation in India and, perhaps above all, the case of Shell in Nigeria and the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa, all provide poignant and powerful counterparts to Ngugi's vision which seeks to provide radical and resistive energy to those successive forces of imperialistic dispossession that disrupt the interconnectedness between the human and non-human world, and which do so for the profit of a 'fast buck2.

Describing pollution of the environment as the ultimate act of human masochism, Ngugi states: 'I am more dependent on the air around me than on one of my own limbs … you could cut of my arm, I would survive … turn off the air in this room and we wouldn't last many hours at all … polluting the air is a blow against my very being'3. The sentiments expressed here, echo his description of the tight-coupling of human and non-human life on the planet in Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams - 'Human beings, in their particularity, are different from animals and plants. But all these forms of being find unity in their dependence on the basic elements of air, water, and fire' (Ngugi, 1998, p 117). He continues to state that, of course, 'their will always be those who can both afford to pollute and continue to breathe clean air' and that 'each generation must progress the struggle' (Ngugi, qtd. 2003) to rebalance this social, political and environmental inequity. Such a terrifying vision of deregulated control of the most vital of resources is satirised in the depiction of the bloated-plutocrat and arch-thief Gitutu in Devil on the Cross: 'we, the top-grade tycoons, can trap the air in the sky, put it in tins and sell it to peasants and workers, just as water and charcoal are now sold to them. Imagine the profit we would reap…' (1982, p107).

In these ways Ngugi's writing exemplifies the emerging political pattern of a socialist and ecologist 'converging critique' as ideologies coupled in condemnation of 'capitalism as wasteful of resources in terms of production and consumption' and 'its inegalitarian outcomes' (Dobson, 1995, p 186). In a Kenya where the wealth generated from land and labour has more often than not ended up in the hands of foreign companies, and in a world where 'money has been elevated to the status of world religion and where globalization … is seen as a panacea for all problems economic' (Isegawa, 2002, p xix), the centrality of Ngugi's vision of interconnection as resistance becomes ever more indispensable.

2. Eco-narratives and the Politics of Progress

Ngugi's creation of ecologically-conscious novels which continue to interrogate and hold to account the punitive practices of government and corporations is exemplified in the novel Petals of Blood. This work functions as a powerful indictment of political and commercial irresponsibility of the highest order; the fundamental worship of gods of supply and demand with scant regard for issues of the finite nature of resources or the human fallout from their zealous observances. It is a novel concerned with illumination of the effects, global and local, of the West's policies of dispossession at a distance carried out by and through its emissaries; the World Bank, the IMF and the multinationals of our neo-colonial age. This uncovering of the murky machinations of global trade begins with metaphoric examination of the connection of the human spirit to the landscape, the natural flora and fauna in the shape of the 'petals of blood'.

In this regard, Ngugi's novel reveals his involvement and interconnection with writing from the Caribbean. As a complement to George Lamming's seminal text In the Castle of My Skin (1970), Petals of Blood derives its title from the poetry of Derek Walcott. Walcott - himself involved in the ecopoetic mission of a legitimisation of the Caribbean aesthetic of language and landscape - in 'The Swamp' provides the inspiration for the Kenyan novelist to analyse the relationship between soul and soil and the radical possibilities such a deep connection can present.

Gnawig the highway's edges, its black mouth
Hums quietly: 'Home, come home…'

[…]

Fearful, original sinuosities! Each mangrove sapling
Serpent like, its roots obscene
As a six-fingered hand,

Conceals within its clutch the mossbacked toad,
Toadstools, the potent ginger-lily,
Petals of blood, (Walcott, 1969, p 11)


Walcott's image becomes transfigured by the incisive point of Ngugi's pen into one of the many-layered flowerings which recur throughout the novel, reinforcing the interconnected nature of human mindscape and non-human landscape and, conversely, the disconnecting fractures inflicted by the incursion of multinational capitalism.

The natural environment around the school house in Ilmorog inspires and fosters in the children, a spirit of investigation, curiosity and infantile yet earnest attempts at fathoming ideas of being, dwelling in the land and humanity's place within the system of the universe. Questions about the connectedness of phenomena assail the myopic schoolteacher Munira:

When the rains had come and seeds sprouted and then, in June, flowers came he felt as if the whole of Ilmorog had put on a vast floral-patterned cloth … He took the children out into the field to study nature … he was pleased with himself. But the children started asking him awkward questions. Why did things eat each other? Why can't the eaten eat back? Why did God allow this and that to happen? He had never bothered with those kind of questions and to silence them he told them that it was simply a law of nature. What was a law? What was nature?…A law was simply a law and nature was nature. What about men and God? Children, he told them, it's time for a break (Ngugi, 2002, p 27).

After such a barrage of inquiry, the teacher decides that maybe field-trips are not the desired pathway to knowledge and, that from here on, learning should be on his terms alone and confined to the classroom. This flowering of expansive and expressive inquisition amongst the children of the community is contrasted later with the colourless blooms of mechanistic expansion - 'The road. Trade. Progress. We saw the new owners of plots bring stones and concrete … Flowers for our land. Long live Nderi wa Riera. We gave him our votes: we waited for flowers to bloom' (Ngugi, 2002, p 319).

Similarly, the petals of the theng'eta plant also become an authorial focus for the contrast between interconnected living and a fracturing modernity of exploitation. The distillation of the plant features, at first, as a central community ceremony emphasising the bond between the villagers themselves and also the connection of the human community to the rhythms of nature. Later, theng'eta becomes, in effect, cash-cropped; it is grown and processed for commercial profit, a profit which passes into the hands of a company with a neo-colonial directorship that has no interest in contributing back to the Ilmorog community:

… sales-vans, newspapers and handbills: POTENCY - Theng'a Theng'a with Theng'eta. P=3T. The breweries were owned by an Anglo-American international combine but of course with African directors and even shareholders… Long live New Ilmorog! Long live Partnership in Trade and Progress! (Ngugi, 2002, p 334).

In addition, the liquor product itself is marketed on the back of the illusory image of the vitality of the local land and its historical/ cultural relevance; the mendacious advertising slogans evoke the image of a past reality that the mass production of the drink has helped, in effect, to destroy.

Ngugi presents a vision of global trade which devours and impoverishes resource communities. The example of theng'eta becomes a microcosmic symbol for the historical forced transition from subsistence existence to dependence on cash economies for the communities in Kenya under British colonial rule; a transition typified by the life of Karega's family. Having been forced into the role of landless tenant farmers by the deliberate policy of the British: 'They would be given a piece of land in the bush; they would clear it and after a year they would be driven off and shown other virgin lands to clear for the European landlord' and eventually had 'turned solely to working full-time on settlers' farms for wages' (Ngugi, 2002, pp 68-69). Also, the theng'eta plant's fate of transfiguration from cultural signifier to commercial pawn parallels other textual examples which represent the ugly face of a neo-colonial modernity that turns systems of agriculture into sectors of agribusiness. Most significantly in the depiction of the case of Nyakinyua forced to sell up, after being sold out:

She was not alone: a whole lot of peasants and herdsmen of Old Ilmorog who had been lured into loans and into fencing off their land and buying imported fertilizers and were unable to pay back were similarly affected … Now the inexorable law of the metal power was driving them from the land (Ngugi, 2002, p 326-327).

This warning of the effects of commercial coercion is as applicable today as it was when the novel was first published (1977) bringing to mind the ultimatum in the guise of choice being issued to many African countries. The creation of a neo-feudalism of tenancy across the continent is the likely outcome of efforts of the U.S. and biotechnology companies in the twenty-first century. The loaded-aid packages which would see states coerced into accepting genetically modified grain in place of monetary aid (which would enable food aid organisations to buy surpluses off neighbouring states, thus stimulating the internal economies of the continent) coupled with the corporate ownership and patent of crop types will breed a new generation of tenant farmers and further undermine the independence of states across the continent. Here, Ngugi's warning about the creation of merely 'flag-independence' in the neo-colonial era is especially pertinent4. Indeed, he writes in A Novel in Politics:

'Looking back to the launching of Petals of Blood in that July of 1977, I can now see that its grim picture of post-colonial Africa belongs more to the nineties and twenty-first century than it did to the seventies. Hopefully the resistance envisaged in the narrative also belongs to the twenty-first century… (Ngugi, 1997, p 93).

The second extended metaphor which pervades the novel is that of the road and the concept and consequences of road building schemes for the Ilmorog community. The neo-colonial journey along the road to prosperity is held up for critical scrutiny in the opposition between the pilgrimage of hope which the villagers undertake when they travel to the city and the multiple images of environmental and cultural destruction caused by the creation of these new roads of 'progress'. First, the interconnected nature of life in Kenya is depicted in this journey, as those on the periphery are forced to travel to the centre to articulate their case. Ngugi demonstrates the interdependence of rural and urban but also the inherent power imbalance therein. Those in the city are dependent upon the labour of the rural workers, however, those workers themselves are marginalised and disenfranchised by the political system, which is itself a microcosm of the colonial system of wealth distribution - 'The rural areas of Africa were to big cities what African countries were the metropolis of the West. The urban rested on the rural just as the West rested on the whole of Africa' (Ngugi, 1997, p 85).

In addition, these roads become both the enablers and emblems of a politics of devouring progress - 'The road had once been a railway line … It had eaten the forests, and after accomplishing their task, the two rails were removed, and the ground became a road' (Ngugi, 2002, p 14). The further development of this road into the 'Trans-Africa route' divides the community internally and fractures even further the sense of a symbiotic relationship with the land:

And so, abstracted from the vision of oneness, of a collective struggle of the African peoples, the road brought only the unity of earth's surface: every corner of the continent was now within easy reach of international capitalist robbery and exploitation. That was practical unity (Ngugi, 2002, pp 311-312).

The contrapuntal image of old Ilmorog, represented in the character and characteristics of the donkey (synonymous with the community spirit of perseverance and unity) is finally wiped out when that other icon of modernity - the surveying plane of the highway developers - crashes: 'the biggest talking point was not so much the plane, or the crowds of visitors, or the sudden boost in the sales of food and drink - but the death of Abdulla's donkey, the sole victim of the plane crash' (Ngugi, 2002, p 308).

3. Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand

In its interrogation of the processes of the highway construction industry, Petals of Blood parallels Derek Walcott's play 'Beef, No Chicken'. Walcott employs similar imagery of devouring development and also questions the outcome of such profiteering at the expense of way of life and environment:

Meanwhile, them caterpillar tractors from Mongroo Construction eating dirt and shitting cement. Big four-lane highway through Couva. Going where? I ask you (Walcott, 1986, p 125).

Wait. I have a prophecy: you could call it Hogan's Law. The more road you build, the more cars you have; the more cars you have, the more highways you build. The more highways you have, the faster you go, but the one question is 'where the hell you going?'(Walcott, 1986, p 196).

Ngugi's vision is seen to have a cross-continental affinity with the St Lucian writer's own expressions of disgust at the dispossessing agents of neo-colonisation. Similarly, the Kenyan author is in dialogue with the work of artists from across the centuries; Petals of Blood specifically recalls and invokes the spirit of the eco-prophetic William Blake. Indeed, the second part of the novel opens with quotations from the Lambeth poet-printer's radically visionary verse:

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new born Infant's tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.


Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody Poor (quoted in Ngugi, 2002, p 143).

The first passage from Blake's song of experience 'London' (Keynes, 1972, p 216) brings to mind the devastating effect of rampant, unsympathetic, 18th century industrialism, and of a city with commercially 'charter'd' streets and smog-polluted 'black'ning Church' spires. Ngugi, in quoting Blake, warns of the retrogressive nature of much of the progress of a trade which can create oppressive environments and which produces the 'mind-forg'd manacles' responsible for incarcerating the exploited population psychically and physically from independent living and interconnected vision. In addition, Ngugi's employment of the following quotation from 'The Human Abstract' (Keynes, 1972, p 217) ironises the concept of western aid relief which is all too eager to pity and to provide self-satisfied assistance, but not so eager to remove the neo-colonial manacles of national debt or punitive loans. The world of Ngugi's text with its repeated mantra that the characters must exist in an 'eat or be eaten' world/world order echoes Blake's vision of a society where the parasitic sector feeds off those that produce; the 'Devouring' beings and the 'Prolific'. Ngugi expands this Blakean dialectic to encompass the systems of colonialism and their 21st century legacies - 'Coffee is grown in Africa, it is processed and packaged in Europe, and then it is sold back to Africa. Gold and diamonds and copper and other minerals are mined in Africa, are processed in Europe, and then resold to Africa … Once again Africa produces, the West disposes' (Ngugi, 1998, p 127).

Ngugi's fusion of a Blakean ethic with a postcolonial analysis, where the prolific Africa is devoured by the parasitic West, also finds its resistive energy in dialogue with Blake. Such energy emanates through the clarity of interconnected, artistic vision. Blake calls upon the powers of the imagination to see beyond the 'Single Vision' which drives a mechanistic, exploitative universe and urges an interconnected view of all existence that is unfettered by commercial interest and is able to point the way along the true road to progression of thought, art and life:

To the Eyes of a Miser a Guinea is more beautiful than the Sun, & a bag worn with the use of Money has more beautiful proportions than a Vine filled with Grapes. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way… But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination (Keynes, 1972, p 793).

In the same way, Ngugi contends that the cataracts of economic control must be fully removed before the vision of national culture can emerge:

A peoples' total control of all their natural and human resources, their control of that which their labour had produced and the conditions of is production were the essential base for the flowering of a patriotic national culture … whenever a people's culture is controlled by others, those people will be seeing and evaluating their material reality, their economic reality, through the distorting focus of borrowed glasses. The result would often be a blurred vision … (Ngugi, 1997, p 90).

The struggle to realign the distorting neo-colonial political vision of national culture must be at once both specific and far-reaching: the writer must 'of course be very particular, very involved in a grain of sand, but must also see the world past, present and future in that grain' (Ngugi, 1997, p 75). With this Blakean utterance Ngugi echoes a fundamental principle of Green activism, 'to think global and to act local'.

4. Global Imperialism and the Language of the Land

Ngugi's vision of a thriving national culture is indivisible from an understanding of the history of the land: 'What formed the African and Caribbean sensibility could not be divorced from the landscape and the historical experience' (Ngugi, 1997, p 133-134). In his tribute to Barbadian writer Edward Kamau Brathwaite - 'Links of Hope' - Ngugi once more demonstrates the centrality of interconnected vision to the struggle he espouses in his writing. Brathwaite's manifold importance comes at least in part from the view of him as 'a connecting spirit'; a figure who through his writing connects the continents of Africa, Europe and the Americas. Furthermore, this connection comes as a result of a profound interaction with the differing landscapes of the globe: 'Whether across the Sahara deserts, through the savannahs and tropical forests, across the Atlantic, in all its continental and diasporic dimensions, [Brathwaite's] is a resisting spirit, refusing to succumb, ready to build anew from the ashes of natural disasters and human degradation' (Ngugi, 1997, p 134). Brathwaite has also made the further connection between landscape and the language a writer utilises. Famously stating that the rhythm of iambic English poetry is not harmonious with the topography or climatic conditions in the Caribbean, he asserts that the hurricane does not roar in pentameter (Brathwaite, 1984).

Kamau Brathwaite's analysis of the 'nation languages' of the West Indies articulates the fact that cultural expression and language are indivisible from the extra-human environment. In once-colonised nations, it is up to the artist to reconnect human society to the history of the land and the history of the voice. This act of reconnection through writing or cultural expression is exemplified by Ngugi's belief in the essentiality of producing work in the Gikuyu language and advocating the central repositioning of 'orature'. In this way, he has furthered the struggle to heal the rift of dispossession between people and language and landscape from colonial and neo-colonial policies of estrangement. Through language and orature he returns to the 'heartland' of the community and seeks to possess the language of the land:

We are all familiar with the often told stories of African children having to learn all about daffodils and snow long before they are able to name the flowers of their own lands …The right to name ourselves, our landscape; the struggle for the means with which to name ourselves; the search in other words for the true voice of our collective being (Ngugi, 1997, p 132-136).

The concept of a voice of 'collective being' is one that, through a privileging of orature, connects profoundly with the extra-human environment - 'Pre-colonial orature in Africa reflects the interdependence of forms of life ... Plants, animals and humans interact freely in many of the narratives. Such oral narratives reflect the reverence for life, all forms of life, that is so marked in many pre-colonial African cultures' (Ngugi, 2002, p 117). The author is not, however, merely concerned with a pastoralist vision of idyllic pre-colonial Africa but rather with using such concepts of inclusive circularity and interconnection in order to continue the struggle in the contemporary world against a dispossessing modernity of global imperialism. Just as Sembene Ousmane turned from novel writing to film making in an attempt to connect with as many people as possible, so Ngugi's shift to transcription of Gikuyu orature becomes a site for mass dissemination of knowledge (Williams, 1999 p 130); a dissemination intent on halting exploitation. For instance there is, he states, 'something structurally wrong when the elite of a nation stores its knowledge in a language that ninety percent of the population has no access to' (Ngugi, quoted, 2003). By writing in Gikuyu and providing an interconnected vision of all existence Ngugi is involved in producing and providing new critical and creative tools to continue the struggle on may levels - social, political, ecological and linguistic. His work becomes a politicising site for resistance of the English language in its guise as the twenty-first century language of global capital. At present, the very language that is in danger of assimilating cultural diversity as rapidly as commercial imperialism destroys the bio-diversity of the planet.

5. Conclusion

The corpus of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's work is positioned firmly at the forefront of national and international efforts to secure social justice and sustainable global development. His continuing eloquence in utterance seeks to contain and to counter the oil-slick charm of the promisers of a deeply problematic notion of polluting 'progress'. With echoes of those poets of politicising power - Blake and Brathwaite - he conjures a vision of art which fulfils the highest Soyinkan standards; an art that will not only expose the rotten underbelly of society but that can point the way for future flowerings of further resistance. His narratives must be considered to be modern eco-tragedies in their examination of, and lament for, the ravaging effects of a frenzied industrialism. The reader is repeatedly and consistently presented with the prophetic revelation that any devastation of the natural world is inextricably linked to human degradation, whether that be in terms of: deforestation and soil impoverishment; a damaging exploitative tourist trade; or profit-hungry agribusiness. The radical and galvanising energy of Ngugi's work provides, in the new century, a site for politicised resistance based both on the interconnected vision of 'power - culture - ecology - psyche' and an understanding of the inextricable links of hope between the histories of people, of the land and of the voice.

Endnotes

1. This concept of 'interconnection' as a site for resistance to the assimilation of globalisation could well be applied to academic fields of study also. A multidisciplinary/ interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of culture and politics from scientific, social scientific and artistic departments could help to redraw spurious boundaries and to remove falsely imposed barriers to thought.

2. See Bundy, A J M (1999), Harris, W (2001), Roy, A (1999) and Saro-Wiwa, K (1995).

3. Quoted in conversation at 'Postcolonial Studies Workshop' panel discussion whilst Ngugi was Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick, February 2003. All subsequent references to this conversation will be in the text as: (Ngugi, quoted, 2003).

4. See The Ecologist, vol 33, no 2, March 2003, p 46.

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