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Mau Mau the Revolutionary, Anti-Imperialist Force from Kenya: 1948-1963


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155 Pages


Very few countries hide or obscure the significance of their most important historical achievements. Kenya has managed to do so without any regrets or even a thought about the implication of such a major oversight in connection with Mau Mau Resistance. The reason for this underplay is not difficult to understand. The government that came to power at independence was not only not part of the Mau Mau movement which fought for land and freedom for working people, but actively opposed it. It sought � and was given by the departing colonial power � state power, land and freedom for its class, thereby sidelining the radical resistance movement and its activists. This elite then used its state power to ensure that the nation forgets its radical history which would have alerted future generations to the theft of their inheritance and country. This book provides essential facts about Mau Mau. It seeks to give voice to the Mau Mau resistance fighters. It is aimed at young people who were born after independence and who have been deprived of their historical heritage; it is also a tribute to those who played a part in the war of independence and in Mau Mau without whose contribution independence would have remained a dream. It seeks to restore Kenya�s working class history of resistance to colonialism and imperialism. The Kenya Resists Series covers different aspects of resistance by people of Kenya to colonialism and imperialism. It reproduces material from books, unpublished reports, research and oral or visual testimonies. The three aspects chosen for the first three publications in the Series � Mau Mau, Trade Unions and People�s Resistance � make up the three pillars of resistance of the people of Kenya.



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Published 03 August 2018
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EAN13 9789966189080
Language English
Document size 7 MB

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Mau Mau, the Revolutionary, Anti-Imperialist Force from Kenya 1948-63 Kenya Resists No. 1
Selection from Shiraz Durrani’s Kenya’s War of Independence: Mau Mau and its Legacy of Resistance to Colonialism and Imperialism, 1948-1990 (2018, Nairobi: Vita Books).
And Book Reviewby Willy Mutunga:MacArthur, J. (Ed)Dedan Kimathi on Trial. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2017.
Kenya Resist No. 1
Kenya Resists No. 1 (2018)
P.O Box 62501-00200 Nairobi. Kenya http://vitabooks.co.uk info.vitabkske@gmail.com; info@vitabooks.co.uk
Series: Kenya Resists No.1 2018
Distributed Worldwide by: African Books Collective PO BOX 721 Oxford, OX1 9EN orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com Copyright ©: Shiraz Durrani 2018
ISBN978-9966-804-02-0 (Paper) ISBN 978-9966-1890-8-0 (eBook)
Kenya Resist No. 1
Dedicated to Dedan Kimathi, General Kago and all those who fought for Kenya’s independence.
Kenya Resist No. 1
Preface to the Series: Looking Back to Fight Forward 7 Preface to Kenya Resist No. 1 11
Mau Mau, 1948-1960 13  References and Bibliography 139
BOOK REVIEW: Willy Mutunga Reviews: MacArthur, J. (Ed, 2017) Dedan Kimathi on Trial 146
Kenya Resist No. 1
Preface to the Series, Kenya Resists
Looking Back to Fight Forward
People need to know their history in order to understand their past and present and chart out the desired outcomes for the future – in the tradition of “Looking back to îght forward”. But in a class divided society where people do not have the power to keep their history alive, those who do have power manipulate, distort and hide historical facts and interpret history from their class perspective. They thus satisfy their class interests against the interest of working people.
Kenya won independence after a bloody confrontation with Britain after the sacriîces of lives, limbs, land and property of hundreds of thousands – not to mention collective punishments, unpaid slave labour and concentration camps for millions. The sacriîces aected not only the generation involved in the war, but future generations as well. Those who fought in various ways for independence saw a minority elite, groomed under the watchful eye of imperialism, take all the power and beneîts of independence.
Among the losses that working people suered was the control over their history. Their oral histories were allowed to die with the death of those involved – directly or indirectly – in the War of Independence.Imperialism took charge of interpreting the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist war from their perspective, turning our heroes into villains and our enemies into heroes. Their version of history hid the achievements of people who refused to live on their knees and heaped praise on the homeguards, the protectors of imperialist interest.
Few school textbooks depicting the reality of the war of independence
Kenya Resist No. 1
exist after more than 50 years of independence; schools do not teach working class history of Kenya and radical trade unions do not feature in any curriculum – or in national consciousness. Bookshops and public libraries have poor collections on Kenyan history and even these do not show the anti-imperialist and class perspectives of the war of independence. Attempts by progressive historians and writers to address this imbalance by documenting people’s perspective of Kenya’s history have been ruthlessly stopped by the ruling elites directly or by intimidation. Kenya has seen over 50 years of lies, distortions, manipulation of history and hiding the loot of national wealth by the elite and their imperialist masters. And, at the same time, over 50 years of resistance to the lies, distortions, manipulation of history and hiding the loot of national wealth by working people is also hidden by the elite.
It is in this context that Vita Books has published a number of books on the progressive history of the working class and its class allies.These include titles such asNever be Silent,Makhan Singh and Liberating Minds(see further details of these books on the last pages of this handbook or at http:vitabooks.co.uk). While the earlier books were published in London out of necessity, the situation changed with the relocation of the publisher to Kenya in 2016-17. The latest book Kenya’s War of Independence- was launched in February 2018 in Nairobi. Yet another important step by Vita Books is in addressing not only the content of its books, but to meet the needs of working people in terms of theform of such publications. It was felt that working people may not have time or resources to read large titles such as Kenya’s War of Independence with its 448 pages covering over 40 years of Kenya’s history.
Vita Books is therefore pleased to announce the launch of this new Series of handbooks under the titleKenya Resistsnew Series. The
Kenya Resist No. 1