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Prof Ngugi’s family discredits ‘The Guardian’ story of ‘sick and lonely’ author

The family of distinguished Kenyan scholar and author Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o has discredited an article which appeared on The Guardian which claimed he is sick and lonely in the US.

The article claimed that Prof Ngugi, 85, was also undergoing a divorce with his second wife Ms Njeeri wa Thiong’o. It claimed that the father of nine had also moved out of the house he shared with Ms Njeeri at University Hills in Irvine located in California.

However, Mukoma wa Ngugi, who is one of the children of Mr Thiong’o has dismissed the article.

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“Am I the only one finding this story (well written as it is) also unethical? In terms of journalistic standards and what matters and what details are necessary to tell a compelling story? Anything that is gratuitous is unnecessary and gossipy excess,” Mukoma said in a statement.

The article reported that the revered author is suffering from kidney failure and is being taken care of by medical personnel at his house in California in the US. The author of the article also said that Prof Ngugi had recently undergone a surgery.

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Ms Njeeri is the director Human Resource Faculty and Staff Conflict Resolution Services at the University of California, Irvine, where Prof Ngugi is a Distinguished Professor, the Comparative Literature School of Humanities.

“In short, approaching Ngugi’s house in California, I felt nervous, my body a hotbed of cliches: hands shaky, palms clammy, heart racing. The plan had been to write a profile, taking the measure of this legendary author, who was now 84, and entering the final phase of his life,” the article reads in part.

The author of the article said Prof Ngugi made a suggestion that they stay together since being with him would be easy to communicate.

“If I stayed, it would be easier to speak. It was a strange arrangement, not exactly befitting the journalistic objectivity I had hoped to cultivate. But I wanted as much time with him as possible, and besides, I reasoned, I’d keep things professional,” the writer said in the article.

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