Devil On The Cross – Ngugi Wa Thiongo – Part 3


The novel is set in contemporary Kenya. The political picture given in this novel is typical of what happens in a number of the so – called independent African states.

The focal point of the novel is Ilmorog, which is a collection, or a cluster of villages. It is simply described as, ‘Ilmorog is seral villages in one’. The most prominent ones are The Gold Heights and New Jerusalem/Njeruca.

The Gold Heights is a residential. This area is home for the wealthy and the powerful. The residents of Gold Heights are always competing with each other.

The other part of the Ilmorog is called New Jerusalem or Njeruca. This is the residential area of the workers, the unemployed, prostitutes, and others. It is where the wretched of Kenya live. This area is described as, “……….where illegal beers are brewed – beers made more potent of addition of quinine and asporo to knock the workers out.’ It can only be compared to the slums of Nairobi which are described as places where you can ‘see for yourself the amazing up and down the walls, or the sickening, undrained ditches, full of blackish water, shit and urine, the naked children swimming in those very ditches.”

Nakuru is yet another centre of action. The principle female character of the novel (Jacinta Wariinga) comes from Nakuru, attended Nakuru Day and Seconday School, where she dropped out after getting pregnant. Another principle male character, Gatuiria, also comes from Nakuru. The crowing event of the novel takes place at the rich old man’s place – Ngarika in Nakuru.

Nairobi is also another very important centre of action in the novel. When the story begins, our principle female character is stranded in Nairobi. She had just been kicked out of her small room by her land lord. She had rented a room in Ofafa Jericho, Nairobi.

Another important aspect of Nairobi is the Kenya polytechnic and Nairobi University, where Jacinta Wariinga gains new knowledge, skills, and a political consciousness which eventually turn her into female revolutionary.