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I Refuse to Die: My Journey For Freedom Paperback – November 4, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; First Edition edition (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158322615X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583226155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,379,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kenyan human rights activist wa Wamwere spent a total of 13 years imprisoned and faced execution before pressure from international human rights groups freed him. In this gripping autobiography, wa Wamwere recalls the brutality and oppression of Kenya's colonial and postcolonial history as well as his own personal suffering. He brilliantly incorporates African folklore in his analysis of Western and African engagement. Wa Wamwere is bluntly critical of the rise of the Mau Mau in response to British colonial repression, as well as the debilitating accommodation of Jomo Kenyatta, and the rise of Daniel Arap Moi. Wa Wamwere recounts his career as activist, journalist, and member of the Kenyan parliament representing one of the most depressed districts in the nation, and his refusal to be silenced by the Kenyatta and Moi regimes despite detention, torture, and five times being imprisoned. Despite his personal suffering and Kenya's struggles through colonial and postcolonial strife, wa Wamwere exhibits resilience and optimism in his inspiring autobiography. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

KOIGI WA WAMWERE is a political activist and writer. Born in Kenya in 1949, he has been fighting for social change in his home country for decades. He was imprisoned in Kenya five times between 1975 and 1996, spending a total of thirteen years in prison, including periods during which he was tortured. His execution was averted only by the combined efforts of the Norwegian government and human rights activists around the world. Today, wa Wamwere continues to put his life on the line for human rights, inspiring those around him with his clear vision and personal strength. Wa Wamwere lives in New York City and Kenya.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By RAVINDER S BHALLA on October 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is an autobiographical exposition of a living freedom fighter that has experienced the oppressive conditions of colonial Africa as well as the terror of African dictatorship that people in Kenya and other countries find themselves in today.
Koigi's personal story is simply incredible. The son of impoverished forest workers, he was a first hand witness to the brutality of British colonialism against Mau Mau freedom fighters. He witnessed the birth of an independent Kenya led by Jomo Kenyatta, as well as Kenyatta's eventual betrayal of the ideals that informed the Mau Mau struggle for independence. Miraculously, the emphasis that his parents placed upon education led him to an opportunity to study at Cornell University in New York in the 1970's, where he was exposed to democratic freedoms that were unheard of under Kenyatta's reign.
Koigi then returned to Kenya to fight for these democratic ideals within his homeland, and as a consequence, was imprisoned by Kenyatta for speaking for freedom and land reform. He successfully ran for and served in Parliament in 1979, and was then imprisoned once again by President Daniel Moi. What followed was a series of exiles and detentions, eventually resulting in his exile to Norway and now, to New York city.
Koigi is a true democrat, and has devoted his life to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Kenya. The book title, 'I Refuse to Die' is a clever interplay upon the distinction between physical death and spiritual collapse; to Koigi, death of the conscience and the will to speak truth to power is the ultimate end of one's being. Albert Camus' phrase, "I resist, therefore I am" applies aptly to Koigi's life story to date.
The product of Koigi's history of suffering and sacrifice is a wonderfully written autobiography. And this story is certainly not over, as there is little doubt that Koigi will continue to fight for these ideals in the years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Koigi's book is a good narrative of his life and philosophy as it relates to Kenya. A large part of the book is dedicated to describing his early life experiences and how they shaped his outlook on life and his dedication to the liberation of Kenya.
The fact that he was detained by both the Kenyatta and Moi regimes shows his resolve to fighting injustice no matter the leadership at hand. The contribution of Koigi to the "second" liberation of Kenya cannot be overlooked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
The autobiography of Kenyan human rights activist and political exile Koigi wa Wamwere, I Refuse To Die: My Journey For Freedom is the intensely personal story of Kenya's blood-stained colonial past as encapsulated in Wamwere's life. This is a story of racial oppression and domination of the British, the role of religion in that exploitation, and the revelations Koigi experienced when he left Kenya in 1971 to attend Cornell University in New York where he discovered black pride, democracy, and freedom of speech. He returned to Kenya to fight for human rights and in 1979 won a seat in the parliament where he represented the economically depressed Nakuru district for three years. Koigi was targeted by the Kenyatta and Moi regimes and was framed for offenses he did not commit but for which he spent a total of thirteen years in prison where he was systematically tortured. He was at one point even kidnaped in Uganda by Moi and brought back to detention in Kenya. Koigi escaped execution only with the help of the Norwegian government and human rights organizations around the world, including Amnesty International. Today Koigi continues to work for social change in Kenya and continues to inspire a new generation of Kenyans with his political vision and personal strength. I Refuse To Die is informative, inspiring, and highly recommended reading.
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