Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: Kenda Mũiyũru (The Perfect Nine)

The latest addition to my website is Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o‘s Kenda Mũiyũru (The Perfect Nine). This is not a novel but a blank verse recounting of the origin myth of the Kikuyu people (Ngũgĩ’s people). Ngũgĩ claimed to have a revelation about it so though it is based on the actual Kikuyu origin myth, it has clearly been expanded. Gĩkũyũ and his wife Mũmbi are the first two and they ascend Mount Kenya, sleep for nine months and then come down and produce ten daughters. (Traditionally there were nine but Warigia is often omitted, not least because she has crippled legs.) The beauty of the daughters spreads and ninety-nine suitors appear. The rest of the tale recounts how they are tested to prove worthy of the daughters, in particular a dangerous journey involving multiple ogres, lions and crocodiles, and treacherous swamps. In all cases the women prove tougher than the men. It is a thoroughly enjoyable tale.

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