This is what I wrote last year when I believed that the Nobel Committee got it wrong and got it wrong again, not considering Ngugui for the Nobel Prize for Literature!. History will vindicate me by the evidence of events of obscurity. Although, Ngugui did not write to win a prize. He wrote truth for truth’s sake. He advised Africans to decolonize their minds and be self-reliant.
The Nobel Prize for Literature Committee got it wrong Again:
October 13, 2019
Alagi Yorro Jallow.
Fatoumatta: The Nobel Committee got it wrong: Ngugi wa Thiong’o is the writer the world needs now. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s body of works not only sits among a handful in the pantheon of African writers, but the man’s body of work is also deserving of a Nobel Prize in Literature. However, unfortunately, he has been repeatedly passed over by the Committee.
Slavoj Žižek on the news from Stockholm recently: In 2014, Peter Handke called for the Nobel to be abolished, saying it was a ‘false canonization’ of literature. Instead, the Sweden-based Nobel Prize Committee awarded the 2018 and 2019 Prize for Literature to “crimes against-humanity apologist” to Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk and “genocide apologist” Peter Handke of Austria. The fact that he got it now proves that he was right. This is Sweden: “an apologist of war crimes receives a Nobel prize. At the same time, a continent of the true hero of all times should be left out of the literature Nobel prize for Ngugi wa Thiong’o but the Nobel peace prize for Olga Tokarczuk.” Well, Ngugi wa Thiong’o did some perfect things, and I am not sure he is simply the hero of our times.
The Nobel prize for literature generally goes to writers who tend towards magical realism and abstraction, then to realist and overtly political writers. So, it went to Toni Morrison and not Amiri Baraka. To Wole Soyinka and not Chinua Achebe. Of the five literature prizes won in Africa, only one was won by a black African. Three went to Caucasians from the settler colonies of Zimbabwe and South Africa, including Coetzee, who would not tolerate living in black-ruled South Africa and moved to Australia. It is not very reassuring to hear scholars at African literature conferences look for Coetzee’s anti-apartheid credentials in his work like needles in a haystack. Just like they try to defend Joseph Conrad’s racist novel. It is probably the famous and robust attack against that book that got Achebe snubbed by the Nobel people.
Albert Camus, whom, like Jean-Paul Sartre, I consider an apologist for French settler colonialism in Algeria, where he was born before moving to France, is sometimes listed as an African winner. Moreover, now you can see who won this year—an apologist of genocide.
Fatoumatta: The fact that he got it now proves that he was right. This is Sweden today: an apologist of war crimes receives a Nobel prize while the country fully participated in the character assassination of the true hero of our times, Julian Assange. Our reaction should be not the literature Nobel prize for Handke but the Nobel peace prize for Assange.” Assange did some perfect things, but I am not sure he is simply the hero of our times.
So, it is not surprising that Ngugi wa Thiong’o has not won the prize. The most significant number of black and African laureates are in peace because we fight each other or fight white people. According to the Nobel people, we do not create, whether in science or art.
Fatoumatta: African literati and intellectuals need to read the Nobel writers and advise Africans accordingly. The Nobel literature prize is not just about the corpus. It is also about whether the politics espoused in the literature align with those of the Nobel committee.