Weep Not, Child

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Jomo Kenyatta Character Analysis

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, before Kenyatta rose to political office. During this time, Jomo was an anti-colonial activist and the president of the Kenya African Union, which sought independence from British rule. Because he was an outspoken anti-colonialist, the British government arrested him and accused him of playing a key role in organizing the Mau Mau. And though he was innocent, he was convicted and imprisoned until 1959, at which point he was sent into exile for another two years. His trial factors into the narrative of Weep Not, Child, as Njoroge’s family and community waits with bated breath to discover whether or not he’s found guilty. When he is indeed convicted, Kenyans feel as if their only ray of hope has been extinguished.

Jomo Kenyatta Quotes in Weep Not, Child

The Weep Not, Child quotes below are all either spoken by Jomo Kenyatta or refer to Jomo Kenyatta. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Weep Not, Child published in 1964.
Chapter 9 Quotes

“The white man makes a law or a rule. Through that rule or law or whatever you may call it, he takes away the land and then imposes many laws on the people concerning that land and many other things, all without people agreeing first as in the old days of the tribe. Now a man rises and opposes that law which made right the taking away of land. Now that man is taken by the same people who made the laws against which that man was fighting. He is tried under those alien rules. Now tell me who is that man who can win even if the angels of God were his lawyers . . . I mean.”

Related Characters: Njeri (speaker), Njoroge, Boro, Jomo Kenyatta
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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Jomo Kenyatta Character Timeline in Weep Not, Child

The timeline below shows where the character Jomo Kenyatta appears in Weep Not, Child. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...you might bring light to our home. Education is the light of Kenya. That’s what Jomo says.” Hearing this, Njoroge thinks about Jomo, a man he has heard about but about... (full context)
Chapter 5
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...two boys start down the hill toward home. On their way, Njoroge asks Kamau who Jomo is, and Kamau answers, “Boro called him the black Moses.” That night, Njoroge falls asleep... (full context)
Chapter 6
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...about the divide between white settlers and Kenyans. Njoroge notices that they often speak about Jomo, and so he listens intently, eager to know more about this mysterious figure. “For Njoroge... (full context)
Interlude
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
“One night people heard that Jomo and all the leaders of the land were arrested,” Ngũgĩ writes. No one can quite... (full context)
Chapter 8
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...black people?” In response, Kori says that the white settlers want to “oppress people” before Jomo’s trial, since “they know he’ll win the case.” As the family discusses the situation, Ngotho... (full context)
Chapter 9
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Everyone in Njoroge’s village believes that if Jomo doesn’t win his trial, the “black people of Kenya” will have lost everything. Indeed, they... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
That night, news reaches Njoroge’s village that Jomo has lost his trial. Kori explains that the entire hearing was rigged, and Ngotho becomes... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
Discussing Jomo’s loss late at night, Njeri loses her temper. “The white man makes a law or... (full context)