Author, publisher and Gikuyu nationalist: The life and writings of Gakaara wa Wanjau
The dissertation presents the life and writings of a major and the most prolific writer and publisher in Gikuyu, Gakaara wa Wanjau, whose activity has never ceased in the last fifty years. The thesis is structured in two parts with appendices; Part One, "Gakaara and the History of Kenya" sketches a historical background to the activities of Gakaara from his childhood days at Tumutumu Church of Scotland mission station to the early nineties. It also outlines the early studies of the Gikuyu
... of the Gikuyu language and traditions and early writings in Gikuyu by other Gikuyu authors. Part Two, "Gakaara and His Writings", introduces Gakaara's linguistic and orthographic concerns. It also analyses his primers and his pamphlet on English linguistic interferences in Gikuyu. It examines the impact of the Bible on Gakaara in his formative years and the vernacular press which flourished in the forties; it assesses the influence of the short story correspondence course he received from Britain, while in detention, in the early fifties. Part Two goes on to examine the nature and structure of Gakaara's fictional writings. It singles out their most relevant stylistic features and suggests a possible framework which can be applied to Gakaara's narratives. It -3- also focuses on the presentation of characters and on those "human types" which recur most often in his works. The dissertation also includes three appendices: an extensive interview with Gakaara, English translations of selected writings by Gakaara and a bibliography of Gikuyu studies.