Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The work "The Quest for Relevance" is a unique one, and it is explicitly stated in that title. Thiong'o wished to bring relevance back to African language and culture—pulling the focus off of the whitewashing that is common in media and literature today.

Instead, Thiong'o wrote an entire play in the original Kenyan language of Gikuyu, hoping to bring awareness and relevance to the language and the people it represents. He believed that by using the language of Kenya and by creating an engaging story about the culture of Kenya, he could assert its relevance in art. Additionally, he hoped it would reconnect Africans with their cultural roots.

To achieve this, he cast all the parts to African actors and had them speak in original Gikuyu dialect. This is very uncommon for modern media, but he wished to make a point that media was still just as valid if presented in this format and language. By doing so, he did effectively pronounce the relevance of Kenyan culture in art.

Presumably, the...

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