The Mzungu Boy

The Mzungu Boy

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by Meja Mwangi
     
 

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The Mzungu Boy is a work of fiction that takes place in Kenya, Africa, in the early 1950s. At that time the country, a British colony, was faced with an uprising that became known as the Mau Mau Rebellion. Much of Kenya, including the best farmland, was in the hands of European settlers. At best, native Kenyans were allowed to work on the land as tenant farmers, under

Overview

The Mzungu Boy is a work of fiction that takes place in Kenya, Africa, in the early 1950s. At that time the country, a British colony, was faced with an uprising that became known as the Mau Mau Rebellion. Much of Kenya, including the best farmland, was in the hands of European settlers. At best, native Kenyans were allowed to work on the land as tenant farmers, under exploitative and demeaning conditions. The rebels wanted the white settlers to leave the country so native Africans could have their independence. As the uprising gained momentum, British rulers declared a state of emergency. Troops set out to arrest Mau Mau leaders, and rebel groups took to hiding in the forests.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the early 1950's in Kenya, Africa, the social structure is such that the white landowners are on the top, and the native boys on the bottom. As one of those native boys, twelve year old Kariuki has no more status than the village dogs. He hates school, where the headmaster engages in routine beatings for the simplest infractions. At home, the beatings come from his older brother, Hari, or his overworked father. His mother does not beat him, just supplies him with an endless list of chores. Kariuki only finds peace when he walks the many miles home from school through the beautiful forests and plains surrounding his impoverished village, or when his mother sends him to the river for water and as he toils he watches the ducks. It is at the river that Kariuki meets the white boy, Nigel, grandson of Bwana Ruin, owner of the farm where the villagers work. Typical of twelve- year-olds everywhere, the two boys care more for fun and adventure tinged with a little danger than they do for social politics. They soon become fast friends. To the adults, however, this friendship is an abomination, and they do everything they can to discourage it. A great look at a place and time in history that is not familiar to most American children, this book would be a good supplement to the middle school social studies curriculum. 2005 (Orig. 1990), House of Anansi Press/Groundwood Books, Ages 10 to 12.
—Pat Trattles
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-A story set in Kenya during the early 1950s. As a concluding note explains, much of the land at this time was held by European settlers, and native Kenyans were relegated to working as tenant farmers under "exploitative and demeaning conditions." Against this backdrop, the author created this story of a friendship between two boys, Nigel, white and British, grandson of a brutal landowner; and Kariuki, a black Kenyan whose father works as a cook for Nigel's grandfather. The boys fish, swim, explore, and hunt together as they forge a quick and strong bond. But they are also caught up in the more serious matters swirling around them-the brutality of the colonial system and the pervading sense of mistrust, fear, and danger that culminates in Nigel's and, later, Kariuki's capture by men who are organizing an uprising. The pace is quick, and the story is exciting, action-packed, and full of detail. Elements of foreboding and suspense are seamlessly woven into Kariuki's first-person narrative. This is a riveting tale that introduces the landscape, history, and culture of colonial Kenya.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888996534
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
04/07/2005
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.12(h) x 1.90(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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The Mzungu Boy 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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