Ngugi, Starbucks and speaking of tongues: An Interview

I was sitting across the table from Ngugi wa Thiongo in a crowded cafeteria when his son, Mukoma came up with his father’s cup of coffee. Ngugi looked at the cup, then at Mukoma.

“Is this Starbucks?” he asked.

“Ah…no,” said Mukoma, who seemed surprised. “It said ‘Peruvian medium roast.'”

“I want Starbucks.” Ngugi said. “I want the real thing!” Then he turned to me, as if to explain, and said, “I like Starbucks.”

He took a sip, shrugged, and decided Peruvian medium roast was okay. We got on with our interview, in which the author of Wizard of the Crow and Decolonising the Mind talks about the audience in Africa, what you owe your language, and the Damocles sword on the imagination. You can read it in the current issue of The Africa Report, or download a copy here.

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