Impact of Colonial Education in Africa: An Analysis of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Decolonising the Mind (1986) and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter (1979)

  • Kakalee Das, Dr. Rounak Mahtab


Colonialism has often been considered as a menace to the developing and under-developed nations. Colonialism was able to bury the cultural identities and ideologies of the natives which made the natives subjects of subjugation. They started taking colonial rules as ideologies which dismantled their identity. Education was used as an apparatus by the colonisers to subjugate the natives. Education brings social change and when we talk about the colonies, education had both positive and negative impact on the nations. In the post colonial context, this tool of the colonisers was used by the natives against the colonisers to get back their pride. By using the language of the colonisers they celebrated their own language and culture by writing in a language which the colonisers taught them, but it had the taste and flavour of the natives. A new literature thus came into being which had the language of the colonisers but it carried the burden of the African experience and converted itself into a sharp critique of the colonisers. This new literature celebrated African culture, folklore, speech which is evident in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958), Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-wine Drinkard (1952). Therefore, in the postcolonial context, the natives struggled to get rid of the fetters of colonisers by despising and questioning colonial values. However, this attitude towards the colonisers and colonial education might not be analogous to everyone. It might differ according to individuals or nations. For some it might be a threat to their individuality and for another group it might be a blessing in disguise. Though Ngugi wa Thiong’o (b.1938) and Mariama Ba (1929-1981) are from Africa, but, both of them had a different perspective on colonialism. Thiong’o talked about the ceaseless control of the natives to extricate themselves from the colonizers and find a new epoch of freedom. On the other hand, Mariama Ba, an African Muslim woman reasoned colonialism as an agency for the emancipation of women. This paper will deal with both these issues analysing Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature (1986) by the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o and So Long a Letter (1979) by the Senegalese writer Mariama Ba. Ba, in her epistolary novel So Long a letter tries to show the plight of the African Muslim women through the women characters in the novel. The paper takes help of other scholarly texts, articles and journals for the purpose. The aim of the paper is to explore how colonial education acted as a two way sword for the colonised nations. The paper concludes with the conviction that for some people colonialism became a reason for the loss of their identity, while for some others it became a reason for gaining the same.

How to Cite
Kakalee Das, Dr. Rounak Mahtab. (2020). Impact of Colonial Education in Africa: An Analysis of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Decolonising the Mind (1986) and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter (1979). International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology, 29(04), 10461-10467. Retrieved from