Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Nyambura with young Mukoma, and Mukoma Wa Ngugi.

Recently, Brittle Paper‘s founder and editor-in-chief Ainehi Edoro penned an insightful essay about Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s allegations of physical abuse against his father Ngugi Wa Thiongo concerning his late mother Nyambura. This piece was translated into French by Francophone literary magazine Afrolivresque as “Entre admiration et déception : Le drame familial de Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Mukoma et Nyambura”.

Roughly translating to “Between admiration and disappointment: The family drama of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Mukoma and Nyambura”, the French translation is written by Cameroonian writer Acèle Nadale. In the introduction to her translation, she shares the state of shock she was faced with upon hearing the news of these allegations:

Faced with these words, I remained speechless, rereading the message again and again, doubting my own understanding. The deep admiration I had for Ngugi, champion of the oppressed in his writings, wavered under the weight of these accusations. For those of you who were touched by Decolonizing the Mind, Ngugi’s seminal work, you will understand the magnitude of the shock.

Nadale and Chrystelle Ngoulou, Editorial Director of Afrolivresque, were faced with an editorial dilemma about how to go about talking about this subject. They opted for caution, deciding to wait for developments in the matter.

When Brittle Paper founder Ainehi Edoro’s article came out, Nadale remarked that it “perfectly captured the emotional tumult caused by this affair.” Edoro’s fine analysis convinced her to translate it and share it on Afrolivresque, rather than adding her own voice to the debate.

Read the original Brittle Paper essay in English titled “The Story of a Novelist’s Wife: The Mukoma, Ngugi, Nyambura Controversy and Lessons for African Literature” here.

Read the French translation on Afrolivresque here.