Weep Not, Child


Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Weep Not, Child Characters


Njoroge is the protagonist of Weep Not, Child. A boy living in central Kenya, Njoroge is the first person in his family to receive an education—a fact that makes him deeply proud. When Njoroge’s… read analysis of Njoroge


Njoroge’s father. Ngotho has two wives, Njeri and Nyokabi, and multiple children, but he institutes a “stable” familial “centre,” thereby establishing a unity that not all polyamorous families have. When he was a… read analysis of Ngotho


The richest man in the village, and the owner of the land upon which Njoroge and his family live on. Jacobo is one of the only black farmers allowed by the white settlers to grow… read analysis of Jacobo

Mr. Howlands

A white settler in Kenya who has taken over the land that used to belong to Ngotho’s family. Originally from England, Mr. Howlands fought in World War I but soon became disillusioned with the… read analysis of Mr. Howlands


One of Njoroge’s older brothers. A brooding and traumatized young man, Boro has seen terrible violence in World War II, in which he fought for the British without believing in the cause. Worse, Boro… read analysis of Boro
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Jacobo’s daughter. Mwihaki has known Njoroge since they were both children. Because of this, she helps him navigate his way through his first few days of school, since her sister Lucia is a teacher… read analysis of Mwihaki


Njoroge’s mother, and one of Ngotho’s two wives (the other being Njeri). Nyokabi is the reason Njoroge ends up going to school, since she is the person who insists it would be… read analysis of Nyokabi


Njoroge’s “elder” mother, and one of Ngotho’s two wives (the other being Nyokabi). Njeri is Kamau, Kori, and Boro’s mother, but she is also close with Njoroge, since Ngotho’s… read analysis of Njeri

The Barber

A talkative and popular man who fought in World War II and now works as a barber in the town of Kipanga. The barbershop serves as a cultural hub throughout Weep Not, Child, a… read analysis of The Barber


Njoroge’s half-brother, and one of Njeri’s sons. Slightly older than Njoroge, Kamau is apprenticed to the village carpenter, Nganga, whom he dislikes because he thinks Nganga isn’t teaching him enough. Nonetheless, Kamau… read analysis of Kamau


Njoroge’s older half-brother, and one of Njeri’s sons. Kori is a gifted storyteller who often brings news home from Nairobi, where he becomes increasingly involved in political resistance. Indeed, it is Kori who… read analysis of Kori

Jomo Kenyatta

A nonfictional character, Jomo Kenyatta was the Prime Minister of Kenya from 1963 to 1964, and served as the country’s first president from 1964 to 1978. However, Weep Not, Child takes place in the 1950s… read analysis of Jomo Kenyatta


The carpenter to whom Kamau is apprenticed. Nganga is a rich man who Kamau believes is taking advantage of his apprenticeship by forcing him to do grunt work that teaches him nothing. However, Kamau changes… read analysis of Nganga


Mr. Howlands’s youngest child. Although Mr. Howlands wants to be able to pass the farm to a son when he dies, he doesn’t think Stephen has what it takes to watch over the land… read analysis of Stephen


Mr. Howlands’s wife. Like Howlands himself, Suzannah is from England, but she agrees to move to Kenya with Howlands because she is “bored” with her life. However, she eventually comes to dislike life in… read analysis of Suzannah
Minor Characters
A passionate young man who teaches at Njoroge’s school. Njoroge later encounters Isaka in church, where he reads an intense Bible passage that rattles Mwihaki’s sense of hope for the future. Unfortunately, Isaka is murdered by white settlers on his way to a religious gathering.
Dedan Kimathi
A nonfictional character. The leader of the Mau Mau, Kimathi is the subject of much conversation at Njoroge’s school, where students tell stories about his cunning ability to evade white settlers.
One of Kori and Boro’s friends from Nairobi. A politically active young man, Kiarie visits Njoroge’s village and encourages his fellow Kenyans to go on strike, though he urges them to remain peaceful—a suggestion Ngotho immediately ignores by attacking Jacobo mere minutes later.
One of Jacobo’s daughters, and Mwihaki’s older sister. Highly educated, Lucia is a teacher at the first school Njoroge attends.
Njoroge’s only biological brother, who died in World War II. Mwangi’s death has had a profound effect on Boro, since the two young men were remarkably close.
The self-righteous wife of Jacob.