Weep Not, Child

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Weep Not, Child can help.

Weep Not, Child Characters

Njoroge

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 full character analysis)

Ngotho

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 full character analysis)

Jacobo

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 full character analysis)

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 full character analysis)

Boro

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 full character analysis)
Get the entire Weep Not, Child LitChart as a printable PDF.
Weep not child.pdf.medium

Mwihaki

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 full character analysis)

Nyokabi

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 full character analysis)

Njeri

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 full character analysis)

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 full character analysis)

Kamau

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 full character analysis)

Kori

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 full character analysis)

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 full character analysis)

Nganga

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 full character analysis)

Stephen

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 full character analysis)

Suzannah

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 full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Isaka
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.
Kiarie
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.
Lucia
One of Jacobo’s daughters, and Mwihaki’s older sister. Highly educated, Lucia is a teacher at the first school Njoroge attends.
Mwangi
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.
Juliana
The self-righteous wife of Jacob.