Meja Mwangi (David Meja Mwangi) Biography
(1948– ), (David Meja Mwangi), Carcase for Hounds, Taste of Death, Cry Freedom, Kill Me Quick
Kenyan novelist, born in Nanyuki, Kenya, educated at Kenyatta College. His novels, which focus on Kenyan social problems, are brisk, sometimes humorous, and written in a meticulously realist style. Carcase for Hounds (1974) and Taste of Death (1975) deal with the anti-colonial Mau Mau insurgency of the 1950s; they are distinguished by emphasis on the ‘impersonal mechanism’, as he put it, of guerrilla warfare. Carcase for Hounds formed the basis of a film, Cry Freedom (1981). Urban squalor is explored in Kill Me Quick (1973), which charts the descent into petty thievery of two desperate young men; Going Down River Road (1976) exposes low-life in Nairobi. The Cockroach Dance (1979), set in an opulent housing estate, highlights an impoverished meter reader's slow-burning, but inexorable, fuse of rebellion. A thriller, The Bushtrackers (1979), examines such evils as big-game poaching, gun-running, and protection rackets. Other novels include Bread of Sorrow (1987), another socially concerned thriller; Weapon of Hunger (1989); The Return of Shaka (1989), set in the USA; and Striving for the Wind (1990), which treats the despair of small farmers in contemporary rural Kenya.