38 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1967

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Chapters 14-18

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4

Chapter 14 Summary

Kenya gains independence on December 12, 1963. Lights around the country are put out at midnight and the British flag is lowered. When the lights come on, the new flag of Kenya is flying. After a long night of pouring rain, the people gather in the morning in Thabai for the Uhuru celebration. They hold traditional dances and athletic competitions to commemorate the event. One competition is unscheduled and very exciting—a three-mile race for anyone, old or young, male or female. Both Gikonyo and Karanja compete while Mumbi watches from the crowd. She sent Karanja a warning note, asking him to stay away from the celebration, but he misinterpreted it as a sign of interest from Mumbi. 

Mumbi is weighed down by the knowledge of what Mugo told her about his role in Kihika’s death. She tries to convince the others that Mugo should not participate in the ceremony, and tries to warn Karanja away because she does not want anyone else to be hurt because of her brother’s death.

Close to the finish of the race, Gikonyo and Karanja collide. Gikonyo ends up with a broken arm, and Mumbi rushes to make sure he is okay.