Culture and Ethnic Studies Paper on The Novel Matigaria

Matigaria is a novel written by a Kenyan author known as Ngugi wa Thiong’o that revolves around a character called Matigaria. Matigaria is a mysterious character who is able to make it through the pre independence war of his country and emerge from the mountains with strange demands and claims. As he searches for his family, he starts a journey looking for justice and peace in the quest to end fear, suffering and corruption that has taken over his motherland country. At the beginning of the novel, Matigaria digs a hole and buries his weapons. He has just succeeded in winning the war against the colonial master who had oppressed his country for many years. He is amazed of the changes he encounters because he has been away in the forest for a long time. The city has grown massively and black people are driving their own cars. However, when he visits the factory Matigaria is not when he sees the level of poverty of his people.

Matigaria can be compared to the story of Jesus and his disciples through many ways. From the novel when Matigaria emerge from the mountains we can see rumors spreading among the people that Matigaria has unique and supernatural capabilities. People around start to debate whether Matigaria is the resurrected Jesus of Africa. However, just like Jesus in the bible, Matigaria is concerned with the suffering of people. Just like Jesus, Matigaria finds himself in prison for crimes that he did not commit. Most inmates are in for evil crimes they committed out of passionate beliefs and acts of desperation. While in prison, Matigaria shares food with the inmates and reminds them of what Jesus did during the Last Supper. He tries to bring them in terms of the accusations he has been labelled with which shocks the inmates. Just like the disciples in the bible they all wanted to be associated with Jesus, the inmates start to show support of this mysterious man they met in prison. From the scriptures we learn that when Jesus and the disciples went round spreading the gospel, they were able to attract huge followers. Similarly, in the case of Matigaria, when he is released from the prison together with the inmates, they are able to work together and gather strong support across the country.

As Matigaria legend grows stronger from all parts of the country, people continue to compare him to a mythical figure. Just like Jesus had received resistance from some of the places he visited together with his disciples, the same case Matigaria is turned away from some of the people who never recognized him. Matigaria is not happy with the way church elders are being used by the government who have made turned the place into a money making venture. This scenario can be compared to the time when Jesus found people trading in the temple which made Him so angry that he began to chase away those who were buying and selling in the temple. Matigaria decided to comfort the government officials to know the reasons as to why they were involved in church affairs. However, on arrival at the government offices, he is astonished to find out that the inmates that the he spend time together in prison had all been arrested and only one had been set free. Matigaria is rearrested again, but in this case he is accused to be running campaigns against the government. Upon further inquiry the inmate who had been released turns out to be an informer. Just like the story of Jesus in the Bible, Judas, one of the disciples who was also accused to be an informer.

In a recap of the above discussion, Matigaria is a character who was involved the struggle for independence. After so many years he emerges from the forest and finds out that a lot of changes had taken place in his country. However, most of the new things he encounters do not make him happy. Matigaria actions can be compared in various ways with those of the Jesus and the disciples from the Bible. Matigaria main mission was to deliver his people from the sufferings they were going through as a result of a failed government.