PLAYWRIGHT: NGUGI WA THIONG’O
SETTING: UHURU MARKET (THE SUBURB OF NAIROBI CITY), KENYA
FORM ANALYSIS OF THE 3 PLAYS THIS, TIME TOMORROW
Is the name given to a literary work, It can be direct or indirect title. This Time Tomorrow is the direct title as it shows a disappointed woman who is a widow (Njango) whose slum is demolished and has nowhere to go. Her husband was shot dead like a dog in the forest, she is helpless, yet the City Council forces her to leave her home without any compensation. In (page 50), the woman cries, “They are herding us out like cattle. Where shall I go now, tonight? Where shall I be this time tomorrow?” Njango presents the class of poor people (slum dwellers) in Uhuru market who are poorly mistreated by the upper class.
Means when and where (time and place) a literary work was written. This Time Tomorrow was written in 1970. The playwright has made the use of real setting, the places named in this play do exist in the country of Kenya example Kabete, Westlands, Uhuru, Kolo (Kolobot).
Refers to how a literary work is arranged, it can be chronological (straight forward plot) or non-chronological plot. This Time Tomorrow has made the use of non-chronological plot, it starts from the end to the beginning. The play opens with a journalist who reads an article which explains things that are later found in the end. The article explains about the rotting tins flew high in the air, the cardboards and the dry mud squeaked and the way slum dwellers have been swept which makes the place to be as quiet as the Kalahari or Sahara desert, a reader should finish reading in order to understand what is said in the opening of this play. It is therefore arranged non-chronologically.
Refers to the choice of words in a literary work. The playwright has made the use of Swahili word example “Uhuru” which means independence. There is also the choice words which are formal used in legal language example “Civil Disobedience”
•The use of conversational language in a dialogue
Njango is seen in dialogue with Wanjiro, the stranger and customers, Asinjo with Wanjiro, the journalist and shoemaker. The language has been used in form of dialogue.
The following are some of the characters who were found in the play “This Time Tomorrow”
- 1st customer
- 2nd customer
- 3rd customer
- Inspector Kiongo
- Police Officer
- Crowd, Policemen
She is the main character of the Play. She is a widow and the mother of Wanjiro. When her husband passed away in the struggle during Mau Mau war, she came to town. She engaged in a petty trade of selling soup at Uhuru market. She believes in tribalism. She is poor and shares the floor with her daughter as a bed. She was a victim of keep-clean-the-city campaign.
The daughter of Njango. She has natural beauty and a lived poor life. She is ignorant as she did not go to school. She loves Asinjo and wants to marry him. She admires how European ladies dress.
He is an activist who fought for Uhuru during Mau Mau war. He educates people on their rights and makes them aware of humiliation and exploitation. He unites people against the city council with its campaign of “keep the city clean.”
One of the slum dwellers. He is illiterate and does not know his age. He was among the freedom fighters in the forest. He protests against the government’s decision to demolish the houses.
1st, 2nd &3rd customer:
They are among the slum dwellers. They buy soup at Njangos place. They oppose the city campaign of demolishing their slums.
A worker at the City Council in the Health department. He reminds people at Uhuru market to move away since the slums are to be demolished. He is among those who enjoy the national cake.
He is a young man from a different tribe with Wanjiro. He was chased away and insulted by Njango as he wanted to marry Wanjiro. He convinces Wanjiro to go with him and ignore her mother for claim that she is ignorant and old.
Is a slum dweller who lives a poor life, He is ignorant. He cooked for the white people during the war. He makes and sells water tins, pangas, hoes etc.
A reporter of different events in the society. For example, he reported on the keep the city campaign, how houses were demolished and how people reacted against it. He takes pictures of different people like the Tinsmith and Inspector Kiongo.
He is among the civil servants. He represents the Government to make sure that the clean the city campaign is a success.
A theme is the main idea in the work of art. Several themes can be analyzed from this play. Among the themes in the play “This Time Tomorrow” are protest, tribalism, poverty, conflict, building the future, illusion, environmental sanitation and awareness.
Means disapproval of something which is unjust. Protest dominated in the whole play of “This Time Tomorrow”. People at Uhuru market protested against the city council which planned to demolish their slums. People also protested against introduction of new cultural ways of life based on Western culture.
The government humiliated people by destroying their slums at Uhuru market. People protest against the government order to demolish their slums. Njango was among those who protested. Njango says” City council or no city council, i am not going to move from this place”. The shoemaker says ‘’It is not that I do not want to move but the government should give me the place to go-------why should I move from here? ---I only wanted to be left alone. It shows that people were against the decisions made by the city council.
The old generation oppose the changes brought by Western culture while the young enjoy adapting western ways. For example, Njango opposes the new dressing style. She asks her daughter” You want to dress like white people”?
The writer also managed to show the theme of conflict with great success. Conflict can be a source of disunity, enmity and underdevelopment. In this play, the conflict has been shown in the following areas: The conflict between the slum dwellers and the city council; the conflict was the result of the city council to demolish the slums at Uhuru market. People did not support the city council campaign of demolishing the slums. Conflict between the young and the old; the old generation (Njango) opposes all the changes brought by introduction of new cultural practices. On the other hand, the new generation like changes and want to look like white people. For example, Wanjiro wants to marry a man from another tribe. This is against their culture. She also wants to wear long heeled shoes like European women and also smoke Cigar. She also wants to go to school like her brother. All these are opposed by her mother (Njango).Conflict between the police officer and the stranger; the police officer arrested the stranger for causing violence and civil disobedience. When arresting the stranger, the police officer says” In the name of our new republic, you are arrested----! Follow us! Intra-personal conflict; Wanjiro is not happy for not been sent to school. She is also not happy with life in the slums. She wants to wear nice dresses like other girls but her mother is poor and cannot afford to buy nice dresses for her daughter.
The playwright proves to us that there are still some elements of colonialism in African countries. People have not seen changes even after the achievement of independence. People are landless and jobless. The land has remained in the hands of few people. The national cake is enjoyed by the minority. The new generation likes dressing like white people. Wanjiro says "I want a frock. And shoes-high heels-so that I can walk like a European lady".
RELEVANCE OF THE PLAY TO OUR SOCIETY
The play “This Time Tomorrow” reflects what happens in the society. In some parts of the country, there are problems of tribalism. The city councils in Tanzania sometimes demolish houses of people without paying them or showing them where to build. Western culture has changed the life style of many young men in Tanzania. They act and live like white people. There is also a big number of illiterate people in our society who don’t know how to read and write.
- Ignorance and poverty are hindering blocks to society’s progress. Referring to the play “This Time tomorrow, show the truth of this statement.
- “Many conflicts occur as the result of selfish tendencies of some members of the society”. Discuss the statement with reference to the play “This Time Tomorrow”
- Referring to the play “This Time Tomorrow”, explain how drama can be used to entertain the readers and at the same time criticizing the society.
- “Sacrifice is one of the key factors for any social changes”. Use the play “This Time Tomorrow” to verify the statement.
- Show the relevance of the play “This Time Tomorrow” to your society.