What is "The Quest for Relevance" by Ngugi wa Thiong'o about ?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Ngugi wa Thiong'o's  1976 work, "Quest for Relevance" is an attempt to bring bring prominence to the language of Gikuyu and the culture of the people of Kenya. Working with another author, the pair wrote a play in Gikuyu and cast the parts exclusively with natives from Ngugi wa Thiong'o's home village of Karmiirithu in Kenya.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o came to this decision after many years spent writing in English and living in exile. His first novel in 1964, Weep Not, Child was written under his colonist name, James Ngugi. By his third novel, Ngugi wa Thiong'o decided to return to his African name. He also renounced both English and Christianity. 

In 1976, as a continuing effort to promote native language and arts and de-emphasize the English that had long dominated Africa due to colonization, Ngugi wa Thiong'o founded the Kamiriithu Community Education and Cultural Centre.


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