The River Between Questions and Answers
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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Why Waiyaki did not fulfill his mission in The River Between?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Waiyaki attempts to find a middle ground for the Kikuyu (now Gikuyu) people by drawing on both traditional and European values and customs. His father’s belief in progress has motivated him to embrace the new and modern, but he cannot see that doing so has eroded the cohesion that enabled his people to resist the negative impacts of colonialism. Because they have lost their autonomy, just continuing to practice random customs will not bring it back.

As Waiyaki feels increasingly uncomfortable imposing the British values, he tries to turn the clock back by adhering to the old ways. His failure is accelerated by the actions of envious individuals, such as Kabonyi, who...

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