Welcome to Kenya in 1952-1960...

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The capital of Kenya is the largest city within the country, Nairobi. This city was the centeral location for the Mau Mau Rebellion.

Who & Why:


In the Republic of Kenya, an eastern country of Africa is where the violent uprising occurred. Within the country this rebellion was highly centralized around the area of Nairobi. This area has a high population of white settlers and is surrounded by rich lands full of native Africans(Kenya). The native Kenyan’s lived in the surrounding districts of Nairobi. The most well known district was the Kikuyu tribe (Boddy-Evans).These districts had seen years of the British taking their lands over and using it for white settlers. These lands were highly valuable for the natives and were used for everything(Kenya).

What & When (Timeline):
1944--Kenyan African Union (KAU). This was due to the rising pressure of the white settlers. They started to overtake precious lands and greatly offend native Africans.
1947—Jomo Kenyatta as announced the leader of the Kenyan African Union (KAU). Jomo play a tremendous role in the rebellion. He was said to have been highly involved with planning and coordinating action plans (Boddy-Evans). It was reported that Jomo had sixty leaders beneath him. The group moved underground to protect the society from the British and to keep their plan a total secret (The Mau - Mau Uprising 1954).
August 1951--A secret society was created, Mau Mau. The actually name of the society was Mzungu Arudi Ulaya, MwafirikaApate Uhuru otherwise known by the British as Mau Mau(The Emergence of the Modern East African Nations 1900-1963). The members of the society take to take an oath in order to be apart and uphold the expectations of the society. This oath was loosely translated to “drive the white man from Kenya.” These men took an oath basically death or freedom. There was no middle ground to back out. This oath was for life until “we” (Africans) ruled the country of Kenya. As tensions mounted from the society, they started to expresses the society's dismay. The society started to show acts of disturbance throughout the tribes and white settlements of surrounding Nairobi. The Kikuyu tribe was suspected to be the only African tribe at the time, but soon would follow. The society was scouting in other tribes to gain more members(Boddy-Evans).
August 1952--After a year of trouble, the society had grown and caught the eye of the British. The society starts to strictly target the white settlers. They are sick of them taking their lands and ruling them. The Mau Mau is in full affected and ready for the next eight years of fighting. During this month as well, the British acted in response to the full movement, then enacted a curfew for the tribes. The British thought that this would help reduce the amount of violent crimes, but their wishes did not come true(Boddy-Evans).
October 1952—The Mau Mau stepped up their actions. The Mau Mau aggressiveness grew tremendously. Instead of burning down building, the society moved to violently killing public officials and making unbelievable statement to the British officials. In response, the British government declared that Kenya was in a state of emergency(Mau Mau uprising: Bloody history of Kenya conflict). During the same month, the suspected leader of the society, Jomo Kenyatta was arrested(Boddy-Evans).
1952—Throughout the rest of the year the British government implemented a crack down and started arresting exceedingly highly numbers of suspected members. The members were always suspected until they were proven by the court of law(Boddy-Evans).
1953—Early in the year, the governments put out this message that everyone in the society “death penalty to all who administers the Mau Mau Oath.” This did not go over very well with the society; instead it just fueled the fire. White settlers become very fearful of a recent slaying of a white farmer; they decide to create their own commando units. The civilians of the white settlement decided to protect themselves before someone got hurt. The British government was said to not protecting their own people at certain times(Boddy-Evans). Jomo Kenyatta was put to hard labor after his trail for the next seven years. He was detained at a private location that had no communication to the outside world. The British felt like this might keep him in jail longer(Mau Mau uprising: Bloody history of Kenya conflict). As the year moves on, the British government cordoned off the Kikuyu tribe area from the rest of Kenya. This was hopefully to restrict the movement of the society and find all of the members easier. Signs of the improvements for the British did occur instantly. Soon hundreds of member were either killed or arrested. The British felt like they had the upper hand, but the Mau Mau pressed on.
1954—The second commander of the Mau Mau society was captured, General China (Boddy-Evans). During his arrest, he was severally hurt and need to seek medical attention. The British capitalized on this. The government sent out picture of them bandaging their caption to maybe flush out members who wanted out(PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising). The results of this were that the British we on a “high” and captured two more Mau Mau leaders, General Katanga and Tanganyika. During intense battles the men fell to British rule sent to prison camps. Throughout the rest of the year thousands of Mau Mau soldiers were captured and sent to terrible prison camps. Within these camps members were subject to tremendous and cure torturing tactics(Boddy-Evans).
May 26, 1954-- Mau Mau activist allegedly burnt down the Treetops Hotel in Kenya. The Princess Elizabeth and her husband of England were staying there at the time (Boddy-Evans).
January 18, 1955-- The Governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring sent a letter to the member of the Mau Mau. The letter was offering members amnesty which means they would not be subject to the death penalty through a trial if convicted. The Governor thought that this would end the war and prevent any further loss of life on both sides. As the Mau Mau got word of the letter, their levels of hostility rose. The response to the letter was to change their killing tactics and seek a new English audience. Two English schoolboys were murdered in order to make a large statement to the British. This infuriated the British and they quickly withdrew the amnesty letter. The men who conducted the terrible act against the boys where found and were given the death sentence (Boddy-Evans).
Years pass without any major events occurring. Many lives where still greatly changed through these years of “quietness.” Many lives were lost or taken into prison camps by the thousands. Many families of native Kenyan’s and white settlers were forever changed.

November 10, 1959The state of emergency in Kenya was overturned (Boddy-Evans).
1961 Jomo Kenyatta was released from the secret prison camp that he was held in for years. Jomo decided to take part in Kenya’s government(Boddy-Evans).
1963Through a public election, Jomo Kenyatta was voted the first African President of Kenya. This event marked the first multi-racial election in Kenya. The public was belated to have “one of their own” in control of the country. The British government was over and a republic country is to be established by Jomo Kenyatta and his followers. Kenya became the thirty-fourth African state to reach independence from outsiders rule. This is truly an amazing accomplishment for the native Kenyan’s(Boddy-Evans).

Throughout this entire event there is something that has been in much controversy, the death toll. From the BBC News, the article Mau Mau uprising: Bloody history of Kenya conflict, it is exemplified that how the numbers of deaths through this conflict was up in the air. The official number given by Europeans was 11,000 Mau Mau members were killed over the course of eight years. This number was the actually counted people who had died by a proper official (government worker). But, it is much to be believed that much more were killed over the eight years. A professor at Oxford University, David Anderson, said that the death According to a Kenyan Human Rights Commission has said over 90,000 Kenya natives were killed. Reports said that these killings ranged from gun shots, hangings, and torturing. The problem is that mainly killing was uncounted due to the fact that they happened in remote villages and lands. (Mau Mau uprising: Bloody history of Kenya conflict).

Why Is This Important To Know?
I picked this topic based on the assumptions I thought it was some kind of war/rebellion within a county in Africa. Through my schooling, I have gained an interest for war/rebellions/civil altercations. There are so many reasons why I like these kinds of topics in history. As I started my research, I was assured that this was in fact a war/rebellion within a Kenyan country. From this I started to get really excited about this entire project. Within any topic of wars/rebellions there is always a reason for the why and why for the reason. Being able to see how all the reasons prior to the start, conflicts during the altercations, and the aftermath of everything really just makes every come full circle.

Given the prior information, the Mau Mau Rebellion is an extremely important thing to know while studying the history of Africa. This rebellion was the biggest step towards a free Kenya from any form of British rule. This significant event showed the determination and desire of millions of people in Kenya wanting the same thing. These years of events showed the dedication that the society had to their cause, native Kenyan’s wanted to be free. This one event can mirror many other events of civil unrests and disturbances in order to be their own rulers.

I think that this event is very important not only for outsiders to know about, but natives within Africa. There is no reason why native Africans cannot rule their own country. This event should be an example of what you can do with determination. Maybe take out so much heartache and loss of life, but great things can come out of the darkest events. I don’t want to support loss of lives and tortured souls, but it can be an insight to freedom is achievable.
What I Learned From This Experience.

I have learned a lot from this project. Learning about the how and why of this entire rebellion. It was truly eye opening. I did my best to put out all the information, but I know that I did not cover every bit of this topic. I feel the only way that I could have given the best and most accurate information would only happen if I was present in this country at the time of these events. So many things can get stretched from the truth and changed to in certain ways.

What I felt like I learned exactly about this topic was who, what, when, where, why, and how of this event. I feel that have gained a lot out of this experience, but I’m sure there is so much more to learn about. I have realized how hard it is for citizens with the country to gain control of “their own country.” I read about so much blood, sweat, and tears shad over gaining control of their control again. What I really learned from this project was how much pride native Kenya’s had for their country. They tried for years for regain certain aspect of their lands and respect, but with failure they decided to make a big step. I learned how the search for independence can often be a very long and rough road for anyone. I learned how the native Kenyan’s were not going to rest until their demands were exactly met. There was many times that the entire society could have surrounded and not faced massive retributions.

The assumed to be leader of the Mau Mau Rebels, Jomo Kenyatta (PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising).

This is a picture of the Women’s Mau Mau. After the men left for the movement the women stepped in and portrayed the roles as women and men (Tattersall).

These supporters are wearing the traditional movement white roped strip (Tattersall).
Suspected Mau Mau rebel being flushed out of village hut (Hazelton).

Group of rebels showing their strength and homemade rifles (PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising)
This is a very interesting picture. The two of the men are ex-Mau Mau member and the other is a British dressed as an African. They all are trying to get information about the Mau Mau’s plans (PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising).

These are suspected Mau Mau terrorist being tired in court (Hazelton).

This is taken from a prison camp in Kenya. These men are suspected Mau Mau rebels (Hazelton).

These twenty seven men are suspected to have taken part in a massacre against the British. They are being tried in court at the same time (Hazelton).
This picture was taken the day of the capture of “General China.” He was wounded during the capture by British security forces (PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising).
A Mau Mau terrorist leader caputer January 1954, General China (PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising).
These leaflets are directed towards the Mau Mau members. The dark paper is a leaflet explaining no harsh punishments will be given to terrorist who surrender. The light tan paper is surrender papers that expires July 10, 1955. The papers were distributed January 1955 giving ample time to surrender (PSYOP of the Mau-Mau Uprising).

Mau Mau in Kenya

This movie is from the point of the British government. The intended audience for this video is the white Kenya settlers. The British is acknowledging the fact that there is a dark shadow over Kenya due to the Mau Mau, but they offer settling words. They proudly state that the British are actively seeking out each individual member of the Mau Mau. They explain what the military is doing in respond to terrorist actions (Mau Mau in Kenya).

Mau Mau Rebellion-Kenya

This video is truly enlightening. This video is actually the same one as the prior one, but a tremendous extended addition. After the brief introduction to the clip the narrator takes the audience on a great adventure. Next, she conducts a very enlightening interview with former Secretary General K.A.U. He explains what the group of was looking for and why. Explanations are given what why the Mau Mau want their land back and how they see if the British as “stealers” of their land. Towards the end of the video is offers a very interesting, yet contradicting comment. Eluid Mutonyi, former Chairmen, Central Committee, he says there was never such thing as the Mau Mau’s (the member fighting against British rule.) He says that was a name given to them by the Europeans to offer a sign of disrespect, discredit, and confuse the general public (Mau Mau Rebellion-Kenya).

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