Weep Not, Child by James Ngugi

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Weep Not, Child by James Ngugi

This story took place in Kenya when it was a British colony. The colonial settlers took away Kenyan people’s land. They also forced the Africans to work on the stolen land. They made many laws against African people. The K. A. U. – the Kenyan African Union – was formed by the black Kenyan leaders in 1944. But the British colonial rulers refused to recognize the leaders of the K. A. U. and did not allow them to have the right of vote and responsibility. The K. A. U. wanted to change the colonial government and the existing laws peacefully. They desired black people to have the equal rights with the whites. They just wanted the land to be returned to the black farmers. The K. A. U. wished black people to govern their own country themselves.

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Weep Not, Child by James Ngugi

‘Njoroge, Njoroge!’ the woman called. The little boy, dressed in nothing but a piece of calico, ran up to his mother. The woman smiled. Her small eyes were full of life and the smile lit up her dark face. She looked at the child with pride. ‘Would you like to go to school?’ she said. Njoroge gasped, but said nothing. ‘We are poor, you know that,’ his mother went on.

Weep Not, Child by James Ngugi

‘Yes, Mother.’ The boy’s voice shook a little.

‘You won’t get food at midday like the other children.’

‘I understand.’

‘And you must never bring shame on us by refusing to go to school.’

The thought of going to school was like a bright light in Njoroge’s mind.

‘I want to go to school,’ he said quietly. ‘I will never refuse to go to school.’

‘All right. You’ll begin on Monday. When your father gets his pay, we’ll go to the shops. I’ll buy you a shirt and a pair of shorts.’

‘I thank you, Mother, very much.’

Njoroge wanted to say more, but he could not. His mother looked at his eyes and understood. She was happy because her son was happy. In the evening, Njoroge told his brother Kamau the news.

‘Kamau, I shall go to school. I’m glad. Oh, so glad. But I wish you were coming too.’

‘Don’t worry about me,’ Kamau said to the little boy. ‘I’m being trained as a carpenter. It’s a useful trade. You’ll get your education and I’ll get a trade. Then one day, we’ll have a better home for the whole family.’

‘Yes,’ Njoroge replied. ‘That’s what I want. I think people get rich because they are educated.’

Ngotho, Njoroge’s father, was proud that his youngest son was going to school. Njoroge was the second son of Ngotho’s second wife. Njoroge was the first of Ngotho’s sons to go to school. A man was always proud if one of his sons went to school. It was important for the boy and his family.

Ngotho had two wives, Njeri and Nyokabi. They had given him five sons. Njeri was Njoroge’s mother. She had had another son Mwangi but he was dead…

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