Ngugi wa Thiong’o had been hesitant to write his memoirs, but wanted to give his children a wake up call about what life was like when you had to walk miles to school – not to mention being a political prisoner.
A giant of African literature, he has never been afraid to challenge the establishment. Yet while he recounts his time in prison with humour today, he has never moved back to Kenya full time since going into exile nearly 30 years ago despite being one of the country’s best-known writers.
Africans living in the United States are twice as likely to graduate from college as the average American.These African students often come from families who value education as a way to get on in life and place a high value on working and studying hard.Sara Tsegaye, a straight-A student at UCLA, is one example of that success. Her parents fled Ethiopia in the late 1980s, first to Sudan and then, when Sara was one year old, they moved to San Jose, California.Sara’s father works on a mobile ice cream truck in San Jose and her mother used to be a factory worker before she got laid off.”We manage to pay for school because I’ve been working since I was 11,” Sara told Reuters Africa Journal. “I’ve been working with my dad on his ice cream truck, he’s been paying me and I’ve been saving the money. Also I had two jobs in high school and I saved up a lot of money. I understand the value of money.”Sara wants to work with an NGO or a non-profit organisation after she graduates. She wants to travel and she wants to make a difference in the world. Other African students say they want to go home once they get a bit of experience in their careers.But Africa is suffering from a massive brain drain just now and it’s questionable whether enough of those highly motivated students from America will return home in large enough numbers to really make a difference.
When Hillary Clinton visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in August, she spoke out against rape and said women should not be used as “weapons of war”.The Secretary of State wanted Congo’s government to do more to stop sexual violence and prosecute offenders in an area where armed groups still use rape to terrorise local people seven years after the war was meant to have ended.In Kiwanja in eastern Congo, counsellors are trying to rebuild the lives of rape victims, both women and men.A 62-year-old widow, who does not want to give her real name, says she was attacked and repeatedly raped by a group of youths, who also killed her 20-year-old son.”Esther” has already received medical help at a local hospital and is now being treated for psychological trauma.Counsellor Mariette Paluku Nzaira says it is vital for rape victims to seek help.”The advantage of counselling centres like this one is that when someone faces these kinds of problems they feel unworthy,” she told Reuters Africa Journal. “Often when the husband finds out he chases his wife away.”For men such as “Francois” who have been raped, counselling is also important if they are to make sense of what has happened to them.”Men who are raped have a feeling of anger. They are wondering how this could havehappened to them,” said counsellor Katungo Kilauri”It is important for victims to go for counselling because when you have a problem and you don’t speak to someone about it, you can die. When you let out what is in your heart, the bad feelings go away.”These counsellors are trying to raise awareness of sexual violence by encouraging more people to talk about it.But is that enough? Human rights groups say hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped in Congo in the past decade by government forces and rebels. The perpetrators are almost never brought to justice.