Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o launches “Kenda Muiyuru” in Nairobi.

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o launched his newest title Kenda Muiyuru at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi on February 11, 2019.

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is not a new name to anyone who follows African writing. The Kenyan born author and scholar wrote Weep Not Child the first novel written in English in Kenyan in 1964. Since then he has gone on to write many novels and other texts the most famous of which was Decolonising the Mind in 1986. Decolonising the Mind is a collection of essays about language and its constructive role in national culture, history, and identity. In it he would announce a plan to return to writing in his mother tongue.

A continuation of this promise was on show at the Kenya National Theatre as he launched his newest book Kenda Muiyuru (the Perfect nine). The book is an epic of the formation of the Kikuyu nation which was founded by Gikuyu and Mumbi who had 9 daughters that makes the perfect nine. He mentioned that the daughters were actually 10 but there seemed to be some sought of physical challenge that precluded her from not being part of the perfect 9.

Willy Mutunga
Willy Mutunga

The event would include speeches from East African Educational Publishers’ Chairman Henry Chakava, Managing Director Kiarie Kamau, and former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. After this the man himself would make his official address starting with an anecdote about his long relationship with Dr Mutunga. Apparently when he had been released from Kamiti Maximum Prison in the early 1980s, he was then arrested on a trumped up charge of drinking after hours. It was Mutunga and his battery of highly powered lawyers who would come to the then University don’s rescue. The fact that place hadn’t renewed its license meant that he was in the clear.


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Ngugi Wa Thiong’o reads from his new book “Kenda Muiyuru” with his collaborator Ndungi Githuku at the Kenya National Theatre on February 11, 2019.

A post shared by James Murua (@jamesmurua) on

He would then talk about his tour for the book we were launching and how he had been going around the country. During this period he would teach us a poem in the Luo language proving that he was not just a Kikuyu nationalist but was for all of us to speak in our mother tongues. He would also perform some of the book with Ndungi Githuku as collaborator.

With the presentations done and dusted, the book would be launched Kenyan style with an unveiling and loud music (sans the confetti) followed by photographs with the VIPs in attendance.

Henry Chakava
Henry Chakava
Kiarie Kamau
Kiarie Kamau


9 responses to “Ngugi Wa Thiong’o launches “Kenda Muiyuru” in Nairobi.”

  1. this_bookishgirl avatar

    I am wondering where the explanation for ‘Kenda Muiyuru’ as ‘The Perfect Nine’ comes from? Is this from the book? In my understanding of Gikuyu and Mumbi, they actually had 10 daughters, the last one being Wamuyu was ‘Kuiyuria’ (fill up). And as Kikuyus do not count all their children for fear of bringing bad luck to their family they always leave it as an imperfect number (add or subtract a number), hence Kenda Muiyuru to signify the daughters were 9, add or subtract.

    1. James Murua avatar
      James Murua

      That’s the book title. I suspect that you might need to buy the book to understand this strange way of counting children.

  2. […] was in town promoting his newest publication Kenda Muiyuru in venues across the country including at the Kenya National Theatre. Mukoma Wa Ngugi his son was doing some work with St Paul’s University in Limuru giving the […]

  3. […] Le grand auditorium du Théâtre National de Nairobi était plein en ce chaud lundi après-midi du mois de février. S’y pressait une foule curieuse et fébrile venue assister au lancement du dernier livre en kikuyu du grand auteur kényan, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Kenda Muiyuru, chez East African Educational Publishers, l’éditeur kényan de l’auteur qui l’accompagne depuis des décennies. Tous étaient là : des vieux complices de la première heure à la plus jeune génération qui a étudié ses livres à l’école et, pour les plus éveillés politiquement, qui s’inspire de son modèle intellectuel et idéologique1. […]

  4. kilonzo avatar

    can somebody translate it to swahili for the other kenyans to have a share also?

    1. James Murua avatar
      James Murua

      We all hope someone does soon.

  5. […] account of this event can also be found on journalist and editor James Murua’s blog:ũgĩ -wa-thiongo-launches-kenda-muiyuru-in-nairobi. […]

  6. mandela pallangyo avatar
    mandela pallangyo


  7. […] Githiora’s Sheng: Rise of a Kenyan Swahili Vernacular, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Kenda Muiyuru, Zukiswa Wanner’s Africa (A True Book: The Seven Continents), Namwali Serpell’s debut […]

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