Weep Not, Child

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Kamau Character Analysis

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 believes in the value of learning a craft, which he upholds will enable him to support Njoroge’s education. And although Njoroge himself constantly tries to convince Kamau to attend school, Kamau remains committed to the notion that becoming a craftsman will help his family in the long run. Indeed, this does come to pass, since it is Kamau who eventually pays for Njoroge’s education after Ngotho is fired from his job working for Mr. Howlands. Later, Kamau is captured and detained by the white settlers because they think he killed Jacobo, though Boro is the one who committed the murder. Despite the fact that Boro ends up confessing to the crime, though, the white settlers do not release Kamau.

Kamau Quotes in Weep Not, Child

The Weep Not, Child quotes below are all either spoken by Kamau or refer to Kamau. 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 2 Quotes

“Blackness is not all that makes a man,” Kamau said bitterly. “There are some people, be they black or white, who don’t want others to rise above them. They want to be the source of all knowledge and share it piecemeal to others less endowed. That is what’s wrong with all these carpenters and men who have a certain knowledge. It is the same with rich people. A rich man does not want others to get rich because he wants to be the only man with wealth.”

Related Characters: Kamau (speaker), Njoroge, Nganga
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
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Weep Not, Child PDF

Kamau Character Timeline in Weep Not, Child

The timeline below shows where the character Kamau appears in Weep Not, Child. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
When Njoroge’s half-brother Kamau comes home that evening, Njoroge tells him the good news and asks if their “elder... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Njoroge accepts that Kamau will not be coming with him to school. He then postulates that Jacobo—the most successful... (full context)
Chapter 2
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Njoroge runs to find Kamau, who should be coming home from his apprenticeship. On his way, he passes Mwihaki’s house... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
As Njoroge goes to find Kamau, he passes Nganga’s land. Nganga is the carpenter with whom Kamau is apprenticed, and Njoroge... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
When Njoroge finally finds Kamau, his brother complains about Nganga, saying that the man isn’t even teaching him anything but... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
On this particular night, many family members are present. “Boro, Kori, and Kamau were all sons of Njeri, Ngotho’s eldest wife,” Ngũgĩ writes. “Njoroge’s only true brother was... (full context)
Chapter 4
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...peers start calling him U-u. On that day, he goes home and tries to teach Kamau what he has learned, but Kamau “resent[s]” this, so Njoroge “give[s] up the idea.” (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...bumped up to Mwihaki’s class. Before the first day of classes, he spends time with Kamau, once more encouraging his brother to pursue an education. However, Kamau explains again that he... (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
Boro and Kori leave home to live in Nairobi. After their departure, Kamau and Njoroge contemplate what it might be like for their brothers in this new city.... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
Upset that Kamau wants to leave, Njoroge reminds his brother of the workers’ strike that is sure to... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Shortly thereafter, Kamau leaves Nganga and begins working as a carpenter in the African shops. Njoroge is glad... (full context)
Chapter 7
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...place to build by Nganga,” who takes pity on the family despite the fact that Kamau never liked him. Still, though, this kindness doesn’t make this period any easier for Njoroge... (full context)
Chapter 8
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...Regardless, he believes that Kimathi is indeed a powerful person, as even his father and Kamau speak highly of the man. In the years since the incident between Jacobo and Ngotho,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...news of this home to Nyokabi, she tells him not to attend school anymore. However, Kamau says otherwise later that night: “You’ll be foolish to leave school. The letter may not... (full context)
Chapter 11
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
...he wonders. Unfortunately, avoiding her makes him lonely, so he goes one day to visit Kamau, who tells him that the barber and five other men were abducted in the middle... (full context)
Chapter 15
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...writes. “In fact, immediately after Jacobo’s death, Ngotho felt grateful.” However, he soon heard that Kamau had been arrested as a suspect in the murder. “For a day and a half... (full context)