Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s daughter, Wanjiku wa Ngugi, has flagged the quote as “fake news”.
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This image with a quote purporting to have originated from Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o is FALSE.
The quote claims that the Kikuyu community are being misled to reject wealth and embrace a hustler or poverty identity.
“My people of Agikuyu have long been known for industry and wealth. But I have been observing with some trepidation how they are led astray to reject wealth and build a new identity called “hustler”,” the quote says in part.
“Embrace poverty, someone is telling them, but that Messiah of poverty refuses to preach that retrogressive gospel in his community. This is how you destroy a community: you make them associate poverty with virtue and wealth with vice. Before you know it, ruriri ni ruahuka. Ngai wa Kirinyaga tuiguire thaa. [Before you know it, the community has been divided. God of Kirinyaga have mercy on us],” the quote adds.
The term “hustler” has been used by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto to capture his political ideology. This was after President Uhuru Kenyatta decided to work with the opposition leader Raila Odinga. That decision, in March 2018, was sealed by a handshake and came as a surprise to many because Kenyatta had promised to support Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022. DP Ruto would later label the president’s type of politics as ‘dynasty’ and branded himself as a ‘hustler’.
Ruto branded Kenyatta and Odinga as dynasties because their fathers were the first president and vice president of Kenya respectively and their families have featured prominently in politics since independence. President Kenyatta and Odinga, therefore, led comfortable lives and studied in the United States and Germany respectively after their secondary school. DP Ruto on the other hand claims to be from a humble background because he allegedly walked to school barefoot before acquiring his first pair of shoes at 15 years old. He has also previously narrated how he sold chicken by the roadside.
Ruto’s new political outfit is the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party whose slogan is ‘Kazi ni Kazi’ meaning ‘every hustle matters’. The party headquarters is called the ‘hustler center’ on Makindi Road off Ngong’ Road.
It is from that context that the post claims Thiong’o wrote the message in response to DP Ruto’s ideology.
However, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s daughter, Wanjiku wa Ngugi, has flagged the quote as “fake news”.
This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.
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PesaCheck is East Africa’s first public finance fact-checking initiative. It was co-founded by Catherine Gicheru and Justin Arenstein, and is being incubated by the continent’s largest civic technology and data journalism accelerator: Code for Africa. It seeks to help the public separate fact from fiction in public pronouncements about the numbers that shape our world, with a special emphasis on pronouncements about public finances that shape government’s delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) public services, such as healthcare, rural development and access to water / sanitation. PesaCheck also tests the accuracy of media reportage. To find out more about the project, visit pesacheck.org.
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