WEEP NOT, CHILD.
AUTHOR: NGUGI WA THIONG’O.
SETTING: KENYA BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
The novel,” Weep Note, Child.” Was written by Ngungi wa
thiong”o in 1964 and set in Kenya. The novel reveals the
effects of the Mau Mau war in Kenya. The author shows
how people (natives) participate in the war. Some of the
Kenyans are in dilemma. Example Njoroge and Kamau.
Whether to be loyal to their family or the government.
Also the author shows how Africans led by betrayed
fellow Africans by being closer to the whites while
neglecting fellow Africans. The novel has eighteen
chapters which are categorized into two parts: the first
part has the title: THE WANING LIGHT which has seven
chapters and the second part has the title. DARKNESS
FALLS with eleven chapters. There is an interlude effect
of the protest by the Africans against their white
WEEP NOT, CHILD.
AUTHOR: NGUGI WA THIONG’O.
SETTING: KENYA BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
SUMMARY OF THE NOVEL
THE WANING LIGHT
Nyokabi, Ngotho’s Second wife, inform her son, Njoroge,
of the plan to take him to school. The boy looks excited
about the news. Njoroge wants to go to school so that
he can be like the big son of Jacobo and the children of
Mr. How lands. Ngotho is squatter in Jacobo’s land and
works for Mr. How lands, a white man as a farm laborer.
Ngotho does not own a piece of land. Mr. Howland is a
rich white farmer in where Ngotho works while Jacobo is
a rich African in whose land Ngotho stays with his two
wives Njeri and Njokabi with their children Boro, Kori,
Kamau, and Njoroge. It is also revealed that the blacks
especially boys who are working for Indian traders at the
shopping center at Kipanga are extremely exploited by
Njoroge’s mother seems not to like her boy being close
to Mwihaki, Jacobo’s daughter because Jacobo is rich
while Ngotho, Njoroge”s father is a poor man. Ngotho
tells his sons stories of the world war and their land
which was taken away by the white men. He tells the
young men the history of their land which was given to
their first ancestors, Kikuyu and Mumbi. The sons, Boro,
Kori, Kamau and Njoroge, seem to build hatred for
Jacobo and Mr. Howlands after they are made aware
that the two grabbed their father’s land when Ngotho
had gone to the world war.
CHAPTER THREE: Ngotho is portrayed as a hard worker
as seen by the value that Mr. Howlands has given him.
Mr. How lands knows that Ngotho has contributed so
much in his progress in the farmer. He cannot sack him
despite his wife’s suggestion against that he sometimes
needs his view about the farm and his plans.
Njoroge is at school and does well the lessons taught at
school. His new teacher is called Isaka a short man with
a small mustache. It is revealed that Isaka is not a good
Christian and he is a womanizer. Njoroge is still close to
Jacobo’s daughter. Ngotho believes that the education
of their son will be a salvation to the family and the
people of Kenya who wants their candy band from the
Boro and Koro have already left for the city, because they
did not have land or employment. Njoroge and Kamau
are afraid that their alder brothers would get lost in the
city. Kamau complains about Nganga whom he intends
to stop working for and go to the city. There is a strike
planned by workers to protest against exploitations and
low wages. The strike was throughout the country wide
and it affected the white’s government.
Kori and Boro came at home with some men who know
much about the affairs of the country. They taller about
Jomo and the strike which dominated their talk. Ngotho
has conflict with his wife Nyakobi. She has warned him
against joining the strike fearing that it would make him
lose his Job. Ngotho never wants to take orders from a
woman. She was sloped. Mr. How lands warns his
employees never to involve themselves in the strike or
else they will lose their Jobs. Ngotho is in dilemma on
whether to strike or note.
It is the beginning of a new year. Njoroge and Mwihaki
are happy that they have passed their exams and would
go to an intermediate school. Ngotho is then given
orders to vacate Jacobo’s land after the incident. He is
given a piece of land to build by Nganga the carpenter
the cost of building new huts is so high to Ngotho
especially now when he has lost his Job at Mr. How
land’s farm. Kamau pays for Njoroge’s education cost in
standard V. white Mwihaki goes to a boarding school for
girls, for away.
he stories of Dedans Kimathi, leader of the African free
doom Army spread all over. Some people say he has
powers to change in to anything he wishes, which makes
it impossible for him to be arrested by the Whiteman’s
government. The incident in which Ngotho attacked
Jacobo has caused a, lot of tension into full fledged Mau
Mau fighters. Boro blames his father Ngotho for being
the cause of the failure of the strike to pick up.
Njoroge is seen having argument with his colleagues in
school about the Mau Mau. He is actually unaware of
what is exactly meant by the Mau Mau movement.
People live in fear of the white man’s government,
especially Ngotho, whose sons are no longer close to
the family. He is afraid that Jacobo will retaliate. Jomo
has been defeated in his trial against the white man’s
government. It is heard that Jomo has been imprisoned.
They blame this on the disunity of the natives
The pressure of the Mau Mau is giving Mr. How lands a
hard time with his administration. He is, however,
determined to wipe them out using their fellow Africans.
Jacobo, the clue, reports to Mr. How lands about his
suspicion of Ngotho and his elder son, Boro. Mr. How
lands instructs Jacobo to find a way of arresting them
for curfew or tax. Kari and Njeri are arrested at night for
curfew but only Njeri is released after the fine has been
paid. Kori is sent to a detention camp without trial.
Fear and tension increase among the natives. There is
curfew at night. Njoroge wonders how Mwihaki will react
when they meet especially with enmity of their parents
since Ngotho attacked Jacobo. It is revealed that the
barber and five others have been discovered dead in the
forest. Mwihaki expresses her feelings about her father
to Njoroge. She hates to see Jacobo with all the security.
The economic and social gap between the two seems to
have widened and they both feel it.
It is revealed that that Mr. How lands looks contended
with his trick of inciting Africans to kill each other. He
has ignored his wife suggestions about going back to
England. Jacobo gives Mr. How lands the note he
received a few days ago dropped at his door. The note
“STOP YOUR MURDEROUS ACTIVITIES, OR ELSE WE
SHALL COME FOR YOUR HEAD. THIS IS OUR LAST
WARNING”. Jacobo suspects Ngotho to have brought
this note. The white soldiers accused Isaka and killed
him on the way to church.
Njoroge passes the examination and his family was
happy about his success. Njoroge meets Mwihaki on the
last Sunday before he leaves for school. They promise to
communicate with each other while at school. Mwihaki
Joined Teacher Training school since she does not pass
the exams as Njoroge.
Njoroge Joins siriana sec. school. He enjoys his stay in
school where he interacts with students from all over
Kenya and meets with many more others of different
races. He meets Stephen, Mr. How land “s son. These
two have a social and economic boundary. While at
Njoroge is picked from school under the escort of two
police officers in a black car. He is handed to two police
officers who take him, to a home guard post known as
the house of pain. At that home, Njoroge is returned to
confess the oath European officers claim he had taken.
At home of torture he hears the voice of Njeri and
Nyokabi. They have both been all arrested. Ngotho
confesses to have killed Jacobo so as to save his son,
Boro. Njoroge is shocked when he thinks of the good
friend ship between him and Mwihaki.
Ngotho passes away some days after having been
released from the home guard post four days ago. This
torture resulted in to his death. No one cries or mourns
the death of Ngotho because of insecurity.
This chapter reveals Mr. How lands has been killed by an
unknown person the very night that Ngotho dies. Boro
and Kamau are suspected for the murder. It is also
revealed that Njoroge has dropped out of school
because of all these events and has been compelled by
situation to work for an Indian in his shop. He hates his
Job but cannot do otherwise.
Mwihaki meets Njoroge. She turns down the request
because of conflict between their families. The memory
of her father death makes her see Njoroge as an enemy.
Njoroge is hurt by the hope which has failed him. He
attempts to commit suicide on a tree branch but is
saved by her step mothers, Njeri and Njokabi. He
considers himself a coward.
FORM OF THE NOVEL
From the novel weep Not Child the author portrays the
The title of the Novel “Weep Not Child: This symbolizes
people suffering. It is very relevant to the story itself
because the author has shown that the characters have
suffered from poverty taking an example to Ngotho’s
family who have even no house to accommodate them.
Also characters have been portrayed to have been
suffering from ignorance as evidenced to Ngotho’s
family where almost the whole family has never
attended to school with an exception of Njoroge
whose dream is also denied by the colonialists
because they arrest him from the school as a
suspect to have been taken Maumau oath.
Characters are portrayed to suffer from excessive
oppression, humiliation as well as intimidation done
by the whites. This is also widely seen on the way
Njoroge is dismissed from the school. Ngotho and
other Africans who suspected to have been involved
in Maumau war are killed; tortured hence insecurity
grew among Africans.
Characters are suffering from disunity as well as
result of betrayal and puppets made by some few
Africans. Taking an example to Jacobo who can’t
unite with his fellow Africans since he is regarded to
be puppet to the whites. There is a war (Maumau)
which ultimately causes fear and insecurity among
Africans to the extent that people are crying.
In this case the author tries to portray that the children
(people) of Africa should not cry rather they have to work
hard in meeting their set goals.
He is the husband of Nyokabi and Njeri as well as the
father of Boro, Kamau, Kori, Njoroge and Mwangi.
He is an ex-soldier who fought during the Second
World War in favor for the British colonial rule.
He has no land to settle with his family. Thus he is a
squatter in Jacobo’s land and affirm laborer in Mr.
He succeeds in maintaining peace in his family but
the peace was disturbed after all clung Jacob.
He is a polygamous since he posses two wives, Njeri
He is in a conflict with Jacob because Jacob sold his
land to Mr. Howland when Ngotho was in the war.
He is a nationalist because he mobilized his fellow
Africans to fight against the whites.
He dies because he was hitted by exploitation done
LESSONS WE GET FROM NGOTHO
African traditions like polygamy may have positive
impact to people’s life. We see Ngotho’s family loves
each other particularly on how they support Njoroge
to join school despite being polygamous.
Extended families in Africa always create burden to
families. This is shown on the way Ngotho fails to
take his children to school because of large number
of family he has.
The movement to liberation is not a simple
phenomenon since it is characterized by torture as
seen to Ngotho who is highly tortured.
He is the son of Ngotho and Ngotho.
He has the ambition of studying hard thus he is a
hard worker as he believes that only education will
liberate the Kenyan.
He is accused by the police to have taken the Mau
He is taken from his boarding school under the
escort of police officers to join his parent in a home
guard post. Hence he is taken from his boarding
school under the escort of the police.
He is a honest boy as he embraces/behaves like an
African boy by respecting his parents and others.
He is a friend of Mwihaku, He attempts to commit
suicide but is saved by his step mothers.
LESSON WE GET FROM NJOROGE
Poverty limits a child to get access to basic needs.
Children like Njoroge cannot get better clothing
because of poor living conditions found in the
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Here we see that
true friends support each other in time of need. This
is shown on the way Mwihaki and Njoroge provide
Young people can establish the best and successful
relationship. The author shows how Mwihaki and
Njoroge relationship is good in a sense that it proves
that the relationship between girls and boys does not
only mean love affairs only.
Hard working is the father to success. The author
shows how Njoroge studies hard where the result of
his commitment and struggle is good performance
He is a rich African farmer.
He is a betrayer because he the only Africa allowed
by the whites to grow pyrethrum in the land.
He is a father of two children Mwihaki and Lucia.
He is against the African who protest against
colonial rule. Thus he is a puppet and selfish person
because he support the whites at the expense of
He is hypocrisy as seen on the way he chases away
Ngotho from works to Mr. How lands.
He is killed by Boro as revenge to the cruel rule he
was exercising on the native Kenyan.
He represents few Africans who are ready to
endanger other fellow men for their own sake
WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM JACOBO
Puppetism extends domination of African by
foreigners. Good example is cited to Jacob who
causes his fellow Africans to be extremely
dominated by the whites because of his
speculations he made from Africans towards the
2. Betrayal is bad as it causes conflict and ultimately
may lead into the killing. This is evidenced on the
way Jacobo’s betrayal causes his death as he
receive a sound beating from Africans who are
indeed furious and dissatisfied with his deeds.
4. MR. HOWLANDS
He is a white settler who owns large plot of land
He never think of returning back home in Europe
because of richness of the land in Kenya.
He is harsh as well as racist as seen on how he
harshly treats Africans who work for him
He is an oppressor as well as exploiter to Africans
because they worked to his farm for long hours but
received very low payment
He has a son whom he decided to take him back to
stay in Europe.
Like other Europeans he represents group of the
foreigners who tend to torture and victimize Africans
by despising their ways of life as well as making
them serve as their servant
LESSONS WE GET FROM MR. HOWLANDS
(i) From Mr. How lands we get a lesson that white’s
investment in Africa may have bad intentions. This is
evidenced on the way how settlers like Mr. How lands
who has no eve a dream of leaving the continent (Africa)
because of heavy investment that they have invested.
Some whites/settlers have settled in Africa forever.
(ii) Foreigners especially whites have nothing substantial
to Africans rather their self gain. This is shown on the
way Mr. How lands uses Ngotho as a cheap labor who
then assumes positively by working very hard as a result
Mr. Howland is not concerned on his economic hardship
that faces him what he real cares is only his labor power.
She is the first wife of Ngotho.
She is the mother of Boro, Kamau and Kori.
She cares her family very well. So as her family
members are united.
She is Ngotho’s first wife as well as the mother of
Boro, Kamau and Kori
She cares her family very well
She respects his husband too.
She is the second wife of Ngotho.
She is the mother of Njoroge and Mwangi.
She cares the family very well and unites it.
She is intelligent woman.
She makes sure that her son goes to school.
She is tortured and victimized.
6. Teacher Isaka.
He teaches in primary school.
He is killed when his trek is discovered by the white
He uses the church and religion to incite the natives
against the white man’s rule.
She is the youngest daughter of Jacobo.
She is the closest friend of Njoroge.
She is kind girl because she supported Njoroge from
the group of young boys who planned to harass him
She suffers from alienation because of status of her
The term exploitation refers to misuse of human
resources without paying proper benefit for it. In the
book, the author has shown that the white men exploit
the poor natives who work for them in the farms. Ngotho
is an illustrative evidence of the exploited Africans.
Africans are taken by force to fight in the World War II,
the war which is none of their concern. As a result, they
are losing their land. Ngotho, Nganga, Boro and Barber
are good examples of people who were exploited.
Exploitation is vividly practiced in many parts of the
world Tanzania in particular since majority among the
Tanzanians do not receive what they actually deserve to.
Different workers in government and private owned
institutions are extremely exploited through their labor.
We should ensure that all sorts (elements) of
exploitation are uprooted if at all we real need to build a
This is an action of having more than one wife. In the
novel the author has shown this by using Ngotho who
has two wife’s Njeri and Nyokabi. However, the existence
of two wives in one house, they live in peaceful way to
the extent that they allow Njoroge who is born from the
junior mother (Nyokabi) to join the school and the whole
family agreed to support him including his brothers from
elder wife (Njeri). The tendency of polygamy is real seen
in many African societies where many families do
practice it despite the prevalence of some discrepancies
attached to it more especially misunderstanding among
them. To this there is a need to create mutual love and
affection for smooth upbringing our family.
Awareness can simply be referred to the knowledge that
someone has about something good or bad that existing
within the society. In the book the author shows that
many people in Kenya are aware of the situation in the
country that is why they decide to form a group of
fighting against the actions of white men. Also Mwihaki
and Njoroge are aware of their parent’s enormity. More
over the family of Ngotho is aware of what happened
during and after the world war. Awareness is vividly seen
to majority in Tanzania particularly on government deeds
like corruption, nepotism as well as other social
upheavals. We should therefore strive in avoiding all
issues that may contribute to failure of our progress.
Protest refers to the act of expressing strong
disagreement with or opposition to something. This
disagreement may be either positive or negative. In the
book, the author shows that people in Kenya protest
against the actions of forced labor land alienation, heavy
taxation, and harsh treatment which are done by whites.
This is shown by Mau Mau fighters. Equally important,
the practice of protest is very much seen in our society
where we live in particularly when undesirably action
happens. To this people have been protesting against
the action of killing of albinism, early marriage,
excessive drinking and indeed immoral behaviors that
leads to chaos and shame to the society members. It is
worthy while for the society to stand still in fighting for
society’s rights without any sort of hesitation.
The term womanization refers to the act of a man
involving in sexual relationship with many different
women who are not legally married with. In the novel, the
author has used teacher Isaka who is a woman lover. He
loves girls and woman for sexual affairs. The habit of
womanization is real happening in many societies where
men tend to involve init by having several partners
without taking into an account that the action may
results to the spread of deadly disease like HIV and
infringe (affects) their future dream put in place. In this
case society has to bear in mind that wominazation is a
bad act since it may results into economic mis
appropriation, it also results into conflicts and worse still
it contributes to loss of man power necessary to
national development. Thus the concerned
individuals/groups should get rid of it.
The term poverty refers to the state of not being able to
get basic needs due to limitation of resources. In other
word the term refers to inability of a person to meet
his/her basic needs such as food, shelter and clothes. In
the novel, Ngotho is portrayed as a poor African who
owns nothing except his labor power as a results he
decided to work as a laborer to Mr. Howland’s farm for
meager (low) payment. It is because of poverty his son
Njoroge is seen being laughed by fellow children at
school because of poor dresses he put on (torn clothes).
Poverty has is a common thing to many people in the
world Tanzania in particular when people who lives in
rural and even urban live in poverty line. This is because
they don’t have access to better health services; they fail
to maintain eating diet as a result the only way forward
such society can do is to work hard in different sectors
by using their manual laborers in order to minimize
hardship in their life.
Role of women
This refers to the way on how women contribute either
positively or negatively in the society. In this book the
author has portrayed women differently. Woman as good
advisor. To this the author shows how Nyokabi
(Ngothos’s wife) advises his husband (Ngotho) from not
joining the movement because she real new that his
(Ngotho’s) involvement would affect the stability of the
family. Since women are not given access in front of
men when it comes issues to make decision, Ngotho
what her wife (Nyokabi) advised him and decided to join
the movement leading him to be charged to have been
among the organizer of the movements against
colonialism. In our society, women have been key figures
in bringing positive harmony to the development
especially at family level, individual and indeed national
levels because they hold leadership positions through
that they engineer development.
The term betrayal is defined as the act of not being
faithful to something or someone. In other word it refers
to the act of going the agreement made by two. In the
novel, there are many actions which show the denial of
people to his/her fellow friends. The author shows how
Jacob betrays his fellow Africans for accepting to join
the white man’s government. Ngotho betrays his family
when he attacks Jacobo. A lot of tension exists between
the two friends, especially his brother, Njoroge by killing
Jacob. This leads to dismissal of Njoroge from school.
The tendency of betrayal is commonly seen in our
society since family members betray one another;
political leaders are the leading bodies in betraying their
citizen’s above all religious leaders do the same. We
have to find way out of getting rid of it.
The term conflict refers to the collision or disagreement
between two or more opposing sides. It can also involve
an individual. In the Novel the novelist has portrayed
different misunderstandings (conflicts). The conflict
between the natives and the white man’s government
and also there is a family conflict between Ngotho’s
family and Jacobi’s. The conflict between Mr.Howlands
and his wife has been shown by the author. Intra –
personal conflict is present to Ngotho, Boro, Njoroge
Mwihaki, and Jacobo. These conflicts are categorized as
(i) Interpersonal conflict: This refers to that conflict that
occurs between one person and another. In the novel,
the author has shown this by giving the conflict between
Ngotho and Jacob. This is because Jacob is claimed to
have sold Ngotho’s plot to the white settlers (Mr.
Howland). To add on that there is a conflict between
Jacob and his fellow Africans. This conflict emanates
from the fact that Jacob is has hypocritical tendency as
he used to disclose the secret set in place by Africans to
(ii) Intra-person conflict: This refers to the conflict that
occurs within or someone’s mind. The author shows that
Njoroge has been affected to this type of conflict ore
especially after being dismissed out of the school while
he formerly believed that it is only education that will
liberate the Kenyans.
To this he then decides to kill himself (suicide). Equally
important the boy (Njoroge) faces intra-personal conflict
due to the fact that his parents has put impossible
conditions to him from not being closer to Mwihaki
whom they love each other.
Family conflict: This refers to the conflict that
involves the members of the family only. In the book
book, the author has shown different kinds of family
conflicts like a conflict between Ngotho and his wife.
This conflict emanates from the fact that Ngotho
never honor the advice posed out by her wife
(Nyokabi) not to join the African’s movement
because it may brings contradiction to the family.
Political conflict: This refers to the conflict in which
members of different countries/nations come into
different misunderstanding over the political affairs.
In the book, the author shows that the Kenyans
organized Maumau war against the whites in order to
bring political stability and to stamp all kind of
dictatorial tendencies rooted among the whites to
Economic conflict: This is a type of conflict whereby
there is class/social stratification among the people.
In the book, the author has shown this type of
conflict citing an example to Jacob who enjoys from
the favor given by the whites while the majority
(Africans) suffers by being paid low wages. Also the
whites enjoy the African resources including land
found in Africa while majority among Africans
(Kenyans) live in a poverty lines.
CAUSES OF CONFLICT
The conflicts discussed in this novel have been as a
result of the following reasons:
Betrayal: This has shown on the way Jacob assumes
a betrayal to Africans to the extent that different
enmity among them grew steadily.
WEEP NOT, CHILD.
AUTHOR: NGUGI WA THIONG’O.
SETTING: KENYA BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
Poor/bad leadership or government. in the book, the
author has shown that the British colonial
government was too dictator, oppressor and
exploiter to Africans, hence Africans have to resist
against the system.
Presence of lasses. This is to say, the rich and the
poor blame one another. In the novel, the author has
shown that there is a very big gap between Africans
and the whites. Africans led by Ngotho work as
laborers to earn their living while the whites led by
Mr. How lands exploit the Africans.
4. Violation of human rights: In the book for example,
the author has shown that Kenyans were killed,
tortured and victimized by the whites while are
innocent. Good example Njoroge is dismissed out
from the school to join the Maumau activist just
because his father (Ngotho) is a suspected to be
among the Maumau activists. Similarly, Ngotho’s
wives (Njeri and Nyokabi) are taken to the detention
camp while they never involve in the Maumau war
but their husband (Ngotho) is charged for it.
EFFECTS OF CONFLICT IN THE SOCIETY:
Any conflict within the society results into the following
It brings insecurity among the society members to
the point of fairing to involve in the whole process of
It results into sufferings of the masses. Good
example is Teacher Isaak who actually lost his job
also Njoroge dismissed out from the school
It results into loss of life. Good example id Jacobo
and Dedan Kimathi who were killed as a result of the
It accelerates into violation of human rights. As seen
to many Kenyans are being forced to detention camp
irrespective of their neither gender nor age.
Other themes in this novel include;
Colonial rule and Dictator Ship.
Mr. How lands and Jacob are dictators. They use force
on the natives who attempt to protest against the
colonial government. The family of Ngotho is victimized
in order to safeguard the well being of the white man
and his farm/ wealth. The natives are tortured by the
police officers in order to make them confess to have
taken the oath some of the natives are quite innocent of
what has taken place.
The Mau Mau fighters are seen fighting for a chance in
the country. They organize protests and revenge against
the white men. People are sacrificing their life so as to
bring change in the society. The freedom fighters are
patriotic to their country and society in general.
There is fear among the natives because they are not
sure of their safety. A state os emergency has been
announced. People are killed here and there. Jacob, Mr.
How lands, Nganga, the barber Isaka and many others
lose their lives unexpectedly. The presence of curfew
and detention camps shows that the life was not secure.
E.g.: Ngotho is beaten and died