Title: The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright

Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Original language: Gikuyu

Translation(s): 78 languages

Context: The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright is translated novel by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.  Numerous explanations have been given about evolution of humans from walking on four limbs to feet. However none of the explanations can be as engrossing as the way offered by the Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, the storyteller in the novel.

Synopsis: The fable presents how humans would walk on their arms and legs, a long time ago, just like other creatures with four limbs. It tells about how their seamless coordination and rhythm allowed the other body parts go green with envy and gradually the body parts began plotting against the two pairs.

A remarkable fable has been conjured up by the author of how and reasons why humans started to walk upright. With critical insight, both folklore and myth have been blended into politics and human psyche by the author. This is a children and adult appealing novel offering an important and clear message that ‘Life is connected’.

The novel has been written in Gikuyu originally and illustrated abundantly with marvelous digital collages opening up new dimensions and vistas of imagination to the tale.

Other works by the Author:


1964 – Weep Not, Child

1965 – The River Between

1967 – A Grain of Wheat

1977 – Petals of Blood

1980 – Devil on the Cross

1989 – Matigari

2004 – Wizard of the Crow

Short story collections

1974 – A Meeting in the Dark

1976 – Secret Lives and Other Stories

Other nonfiction

1981 – Education for a National Culture

1983 – Barrel of a Pen: Resistance to Repression in Neo-Colonial Kenya

1986 – Mother, Sing for Me

1986 – Writing against Neo-Colonialism

2009 – Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance

2012 – Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing

Children’s Books

1986 – Njamba Nene and the Flying Bus

1988 – Njamba Nene and the Cruel Chief

1980 – Njamba Nene’s Pistol