[With Explanations] 10 Quotes That Define Africa, Africans and Some African Leaders - 'Betrayal in the City' (Play)

[With Explanations] 10 Quotes That Define Africa, Africans and Some African Leaders - 'Betrayal in the City' (Play)

1. "We have killed our past and are busy killing the future." (p.28) 
Mosese complains about the leaders who have killed the country's past with their corrupt behaviours and are busy killing the future as well. 

2. "You work like the meteorological department. No public questions into methods used, and no assurance." (p.17) 
Jere is telling Askari (Policeman in charge of the prison cell) that he works like a meteorological department which allows no questions about the methods used and the assurance of what they forecast. In the government, leaders and other government departments work in this way. 

3. "Weeping in public is illegal for the academic staff." (p.25) 
In Kafira State, people especially critics of the government, are not allowed to say anything about the government. The playwright expresses this by using artistic language when he says 'weeping in public is illegal' (Talking bad about the government is illegal). It is illegal especially for the academic staff who seem to know much about the government dealings. 

4. "Why do people sit and watch in silence as the disease spreads deep inside?"( p.28) 
Mosese complains about the silence of the people. He suggests that the people are silent, but the things are not going well. He urges people to speak out and don't let the disease (problems of the country) spread unattended. 

5. "We all know what should be done, but we dare not talk beyond whispers." (p.28) 

Mosese complains again about the silence of the people. At this time, he blames them because they just whisper instead of publicly speaking out about what has to be done! 

6. "He was killed for asking whether or not we were on the right train." (p.34) 
Jusper reveals the cause for his brother's death. He says that his brother was killed because he was arguing against the government. He was asking whether the country was in the right track or it was not. The leaders who do not want the truth decided to silence him by killing him. 

7. "A politician these days is anyone who tries to tell people what they already know." (p.53) 
Jusper talks to Tumbo about his play manuscript. This time, Jusper expresses his disagreement with the politicians who dislike the truth. When someone tries to tell the people what they have experienced already, the politicians say he is a politician who is concerned about destroying them. 

8. "To poke your nose in other people's affairs is to be political." (p.47) 
Jusper talks to Tumbo about his play manuscript. Jusper discusses his play manuscript with Mr. Tumbo. He says that the politicians do not want the writers to talk about what they do especially the evils deeds they commit. This is why they call anyone who reveals their things a politician. 

9. "All sensitive artists are in danger of being branded politicians." (p. 47)
Jusper talks to Mr. Tumbo about his play manuscript and how leaders who do not like the truth associate all sensitive artists with politics. 

10. "It is as if it's a crime to have eyes and ears." (p. 47)
Jusper talks to Tumbo about his play manuscript. He complains that writers should write what they see or hear because it's not a crime to have eyes and ears. 

Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1976) Betrayal in the City

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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