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The word morality takes its root from the Bible, Genesis chapter 3: 1-3. That was where the root of sin started which brought about moral judgment. The measure of right and wrong behaviour, collection of beliefs as to what constitutes a good life; lifestyle, choice making and individual conception of good life came to be.

Thus, traditional stories, for examples, folk tales, fables, proverbs, parables, wise sayings etc promoted morality a great deal in our society. It warns, entertains and educates us orally. It serves as a source of education in the olden time. Through this, our fore-fathers educated their younger ones, and it goes from generation to another generation.

The knowledge we gain from these stories help us mold our character, manner and the way we relate to others. The oracle which according to world web dictionary means: An authoritative person who divines the future. A prophecy (usually obscure or allegorical) revealed by priest or priestess, believed to be infallible. A shrine where an oracle gods are consulted,

Play an important role in the issue of morality. Individual experiences and family background also have something to do with morality. The nurture which we receive from our various environments and family background develop our character towards ourselves and everything around us. Things one does to himself and other people around him and how one relates to ones larger society.

The level of our understanding and focus in life, our mind set and things we value so much etc. All these come under morality. World web dictionary defines morality as: Concern with the distinction between good and evil or right and wrong, right or good conduct. Motivation base on ideas of right and wrong. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English six edition defines it as:

Principle concerning right and wrong, good, and bad behaviour. Or the degree to which something is right or wrong. Good or bad. There is no doubt therefore that, morality has to go hand in hand with literature. Literature, being creative writing of recognized artistic value, published writing in a particular style on a particular style on a particular subject come to play important role here.

Anything literary has to do with writing. Writing what? Writing stories (Poems, prose and dramas)- individual ideas: from books and else where, biography and autobiography. The above come together to create the imaginative world. A world which exists out of a mere world. So, the study of literature is existing in the world of imagination.

 Nevertheless, a good number of African contemporary fiction  writers   have written mainly on morality and literature. From their works, we have seen our past, why we are experiencing what we are experiencing in the present and what  the  future is likely holds for us. Contemporary fiction writers serve as spokesmen or go-between between the past and present.

They bring to our door post what nature has in stock for man and how man should adapt to nature. They wrote on African different backgrounds(experiences) both politically, economically culturally and morally. Stating how the beginnings began and the root of the matter of African literature. Picturing the image of Africans- their mentality and their  attitude towards their environment and themselves.

Why they do what they do and where they got the knowledge from. In addition, writers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka Ngugui Wa Thaiong O’, Mongo Beti, Peter Abrahams, Sambene Osmane mariama Ba, Buchi Emecheta, Flora Nwapa etc. wrote on morality and literature. They try to show the picture of African and heir white masters.

Telling Africans that they are as original and complete as white men. That our culture and every thing about us is 100% correct. Others like Olauda Equiano, Joyce Cary, James Conrad etc contributed too in reshaping and making Africa to attend moral standard. Ngugi’s The Decolonization of African literature (pp. 134-146)  also discussed the issue of didacticism and moral attitude in African fiction works.

Saying that non-African writers critized African writers    of majoring their works on didacticism and morality. Furthermore, literature reveals that writers who come from different political, economical and cultural background of Africa write their woks (Novels) according to their personal or collective experiences in their environments.

They say different things in their personal or communal experiences and this give rise to the type of literature that emerge from such area. The writers, wrote what they saw, heard and experienced. Ngugi Wa Thiong O’ stood out among others by using his mother tongue – Gikuyu language in passing his information his own very people.

He want to bridge the gap created by the English language. To create a bridge which will enable his people enjoy literature to its fullness. In some of his books – Devil on the Cross, A Grain of Wheat, Weep Not Child, Petals of Blood, The Rives Between,  I will Marry When I Want and others majorily present the issues of Ngugi’s country (Kenya) which could also represent Africa, he uses his mother tongue so that is people will understand his message, he goes straight to the grass root.

Ngugi uses Kenya in East Africa as the focus of his writing but, the ills of Africa is his main focus of writing. To sum it up, morality and literature in contemporary African fiction serves as an eye opener. It has woken Africans from their slumber. Taking them to the root of their problems. It shows Africa what it has gone through, what it is going through and what it will probably go through.

That is bringing the past to the present in order to determine the future. The above topic serves as a father instructing us, mother warning us and as a teacher informing us. Through it, our lives and culture are being appreciated and it adds more value to our well-being.



The main objective of this research is to ascertain or know the role morality plays in contemporary African literature. It should contribute to the knowledge of other existing literature on this topic. To educate uniformed people on how morality is important in our society. It will provide insight to students of literary art and inform them on the prevailing nature of our society. Love, culture, economic and discipline will be discussed. The study when completed will have a far reaching significance to young ones and adults.


Primary and secondary sources of this research are being gathered from the library. The primary sources are Devil on the Cross and A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong O’. The secondary sources include­­- magazine, Journals, instructional pamphlets, African fiction etc.

  •        PLAN OF STUDY

This work has been divided into four: Chapter one will be the general introduction. Chapter two will deal with literature review. Chapter three will give down to earth analysis of the research. Finally, chapter four serves as summary, conclusion and recommendation.


 This study is looking at morality and literature in contemporary African: A study of Ngugi Wa Thiong O’s  Devil on the Cross and A Grain of Wheat. It is focusing on African fiction, especially Ngugi’s works. His experiences and personal opinions on morality and literature.


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