"I saw NELSON MANDELA slap his wife, EVELYN, in the presence of kids" Novelist ZAKES MDA says as he supports WA THIONGO's son for speaking against abuse

Thursday, March 14, 2024
 – Popular South African novelist, poet and playwright, Zakes Mda, 76, has declared his support for Mukoma Wa Thiongo after the poet revealed that his father, Ngugi wa Thiongo, a famous Kenyan author, physically abused his mother multiple times.

Mukoma shocked the world when he took to X on March 12 to expose his famous father's abusive behaviour.

Mukoma, a professor, successful author, and poet, tweeted: “My father @NgugiWaThiongo_  physically abused my late mother – he would beat her up.  Some of my earliest memories are me going to visit her at my grandmother’s where she would seek refuge. But with that said it is the silencing of who she was that gets me.  Ok- I have said it.”

His tweet received mixed reactions as some hailed him while others criticised him for tainting his father's legacy.

Zakes Mda has now weighed in on the conversation.

He praised Mukoma for speaking up and said he too grew up to witness many men being abusive. He added that he once saw the great Nelson Mandela slap his wife in the presence of kids.

Zakes wrote: "I am greatly moved by your tweet, son (I can call you that; you’re two years younger than my oldest son).

"This is the bravest thing any son of an icon can do. Ignore those who are denouncing you. What is more important is your truth and your healing. Many of us need such reckoning with the truth of our past.

"My father never physically beat up my mother - to my knowledge. But his words were abusive to her most times. I never said or did anything about it. I thought it was normal, it was how real men talked to women.

"It was the same when I saw Nelson Mandela slap his wife Evelyn in the kitchen in the presence of us kids. Here too I thought it was a normal thing that men should do occasionally - discipline “their” women.

"It was only on looking back as a young adult that I realized that what I saw growing up had left me traumatized. It was only after I had written about these incidents in my memoirs that I felt the relief, and I came face-to-face with my humanity once again.

“Like you, I was denounced by those who have placed themselves as gatekeepers of what is or is not African. They can all go fry eggs.”

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  1. An abuser remains an abuser. Mukoma did not taint his father's name but simply put it as it was