Ngugi wa Thiong’o novel Matigari is now available in Portuguese from translator Sandra Felipe and Ethale Publishing.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, one of the giants of the African writing game, published Matigari in 1986 in Gikuyu and the English translation in English was done by Wangui wa Goro and issued in 1989. Its blurb describes it thus;
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. Rumours 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.
The book caused quite a bit of controversy in Kenya leading to then resident dictator Daniel Arap Moi issuing a warrant for the arrest of Matigari as he believed it was an individual trying to overthrow his government. When it became evident that it was a character in a book the title was confiscated and banned from circulation.
A new translation of the cherished title is now available to those who read principally in Portuguese. The translation by Sandra Felipe was overseen by Mozambican based Ethale Publishing. The new title was presented by Ethale Publishing’s Jessemusse Cacinda to East African Educational Publishers boss Kamau Kiarie at the latters offices in Nairobi on September 24. East African Educational Publishers were the company holding the rights to the books that will now be distributed to school and other institutions as well as individuals around the Lusophone speaking country.