Ngugi wa Thiong'o: Decolonizing the Mind


Professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o and co-panelists spoke eloquently on what is to be done in Africa.

One of the very important discussions that took place during Congo Week was the closing panel with Kenyan scholar Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Congolese filmmaker Petna Ndaliko Katondolo and African Studies scholar Chérie Rivers Ndaliko.

Moderated by Ugandan publisher of Black Star News Milton Allimadi, the panel looked into the remnants of colonialism in Congo and Africa, the challenges they pose and what new avenues can be pursued in order to fully decolonize Congolese and African societies.
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Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. His work includes novels, plays, short stories, and essays, ranging from literary and social criticism to children's literature. He is the founder and editor of the Gikuyu-language journal Mũtĩiri. His short story The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright, is translated into 94 languages from around the world.
Petna Ndaliko Katandolo is an award-winning filmmaker and educator from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His multi-genre artistic works are acclaimed for their provocative Ejo-Lobi (Afrofuturistic) artistic style, which engages historical content to address contemporary sociopolitical and cultural issues. He is founder and Artistic Director of the Yole!Africa cultural center and of the executive director of Alkebu film productions, he also teaches and consults regularly for international organizations addressing social and political inequity among youth through culture and education. He is currently the Artist in Residence at the Stone Center for Black History and Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His latest work includes the films: MATATA (2019), KAPITA (2020) and WE BECOME GODS (2020)
Cherie Rivers Ndaliko - A descendant of the radical Black tradition, Chérie Rivers Ndaliko dedicates her scholarship and activism to eroding racial capitalism. Her revolutionary tools of choice are writing, teaching, and farming. In this spirit, she serves as Director of Research and Education at the Yole!Africa center in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has written award-winning books, produced internationally acclaimed films, and co-founded Uzuri Sanctuary, a biodynamic educational freedom farm in North Carolina. She holds a Ph.D. in African and African American Studies from Harvard University and serves as an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Milton Allimadi is publisher of Black Star News ( and a professor of Africana Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) in New York City.
The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States has triggered a global uprising against global white supremacy and its colonial and neo-colonial edifices. The Democratic Republic of the Congo represents a unique case in personal and colonial rule in Africa. The country was outright owned by King Leopold II from 1885-1908. During his reign, an estimated 10 to 15 million Congolese perished as the King extracted rubber and ivory through forced labor while enriching himself and the Belgian state. The Belgian state took over ownership of the Congo and ruled it as a colonial outpost until independence in 1960. Over 60 years since independence, like much of the rest of Africa, the Congo still suffers from the structures of colonial rule and continues to struggle to decolonize its institutions and the overall society.
Our guests are invited to discuss the remnants of colonialism in Congo and Africa, the challenges they pose and what new avenues can be pursued in order to fully decolonize Congolese and African societies.

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