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Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s 1987 novel Matigari is being adapted to film by Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan in a co-production with yet undisclosed Kenyan and South African filmmakers. The filmmaker behind such acclaimed films as The Figurine and October 1 revealed this at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs) last month in Kigali, Rwanda.

“Ngugi is like the Wole Soyinka of Nigeria in Kenya and one of his books is going to be adapted into a film,” Afolayan said. “It’s going to be South Africa-Kenya-Nigeria co-production and I’m representing Nigeria.”

Matigari is a fable featuring a freedom fighter who emerges from the forest in post-independence Kenya. Here is a synopsis from Ngugi’s website:

Who is Matigari? Is he young or old; a man or fate; dead or living… or even a resurrection of Jesus Christ? These are the questions asked by the people of this unnamed country, when a man who has survived the war for independence emerges from the mountains and starts making strange claims and demands. Matigari is in search of his family to rebuild his home and start a new and peaceful future. But his search becomes a quest for truth and justice as he finds the people still dispossessed and the land he loves ruled by corruption, fear, and misery. Rumors spring up that a man with superhuman qualities has risen to renew the freedom struggle. The novel races toward its climax as Matigari realizes that words alone cannot defeat the enemy. He vows to use the force of arms to achieve his true liberation. Matigari is a satire on the betrayal of human ideals and on the bitter experience of post-independence African society.

Fantastic news.

We would love to also see some of Ngugi’s other works on the screen: A Grain of Wheat, Petals of Blood, and of course Weep Not, Child.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nollywood Director Kunle Afolayan Developing Movie For Kenyan's Ngugi wa Thiong'o's "Matigari" Novel | The African Jotter - 2018/11/13

    […] “Matigari”, a novel written Kenya’s own Ngugi wa Thiong’o is being adapted into a film by Nollywood director, Kunle Afolayan according to Brittle Paper reports. […]

  2. Ufahamu Africa: A great new podcast you need in your life | Democracy in Africa - 2018/12/14

    […] writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o‘s 1987 novel Matigari will be made into a film, as a joint Nigerian-South African-Kenyan production. Ngugi is most well-known in academic circles […]

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