I wasn’t ever very good with history.
My brother was. He was a history major in college. Blech is what I thought about that. That seemed like torture to me, but then again, I picked chemistry as my major. Who woulda thought with where I am today?
Anyhow, I’m not one of those people who is good at remembering dates, or people, or major events. I dread the day when Eli and Lucy ask me to help with their US History homework.
So, for those reasons, you can now probably recall that this blog has been entirely DEVOID of Kenyan history. Although, yes, history is made here every day and they have some real doozies to talk about. I am working at learning some Kenyan history through some historical fiction, and asking questions, and reading the paper.
I have learned an introductory amount about the Mau Mau. It is significant to know about the Mau Mau rebellion or revolution because it was led mostly by the Kikuyu ethnic group…which is the majority of the population here where we live.
The Mau Mau were a militant African nationalist movement active in Kenya during the 1950s whose main aim was to remove British rule and European settlers from the country.
Information is filtering back about secret meetings being held in the forests outside Nairobi. A secret society called the Mau Mau, believed to have been started in the previous year, requires its members to take an oath to drive the white man from Kenya. Intelligence suggests that membership of the Mau Mau is currently restricted to members of the Kikuyu tribe, many of whom have been arrested during burglaries in Nairobi’s white suburbs.
24 August 1952
The Kenyan government imposes a curfew in three districts on the outskirts of Nairobi where gangs of arsonists, believed to be members of the Mau Mau, have been setting fire to homes of Africans who refuse to take the Mau Mau oath.
7 October 1952
Senior Chief Waruhui is assassinated in Kenya — he is speared to death in broad daylight on a main road on the outskirts of Nairobi. He had recently spoken out against increasing Mau Mau aggression against colonial rule.
19 October 1952
The British government announces that it is to send troops to Kenya to help the fight against the Mau Mau.
21 October 1952
With the imminent arrival of British troops, the Kenyan government declares a state of emergency following a month of increasing hostility. Over 40 people have been murdered in Nairobi in the last four weeks and the Mau Mau, officially declared terrorists, have acquired firearms to use along with the more traditional pangas. As part of the overall clamp down Jomo Kenyatta, president of the Kenya African Union, is arrested for alleged Mau Mau involvement.
30 October 1952
British troops are involved in the arrest of over 500 suspected Mau Mau activists.
Thirty-four schools in Kikuyu tribal areas are closed in the continuing clamp down on Mau Mau activists.
18 November 1952
Jomo Kenyatta, president of the Kenya African Union and the country’s leading nationalist leader is charged with managing the Mau Mau terrorist society in Kenya. He is flown to a remote district station, Kapenguria, which reportedly has no telephone or rail communications with the rest of Kenya, and is being held there incommunicado.
25 November 1952
The Mau Mau has declared open rebellion against British rule in Kenya. British forces respond by arresting over 2000 Kikuyu suspected of Mau Mau membership.
18 January 1953
Governor-general Sir Evelyn Baring imposes the death penalty for anyone who administers the Mau Mau oath – the oath is often forced upon Kikuyu tribesmen at the point of a knife, and calls for the individual’s death if he fails to kill a European farmer when ordered.
26 January 1953
Panic has spread through Europeans in Kenya after the slaying of a white settler farmer and his family. Settler groups, displeased with the government’s response to the increasing Mau Mau threat have created their own Commando Units to deal with the treat. Sir Evelyn Baring, the Governor-general of Kenya has announced that a new offensive is to begin under the command of Major-general William Hinde. Amongst those speaking out against the Mau Mau threat and the government’s inaction is Elspeth Huxley, author (who wrote The Flame Trees of Thika in 1959), who in a recent newspaper article compares Jomo Kenyatta to Hitler.
1 April 1953
British troops kill twenty-four Mau Mau suspects and capture an additional thirty-six during deployments in the Kenyan highlands.
8 April 1953
Jomo Kenyatta, known to his followers as Burning the Spear, is sentenced to seven years hard labour along with five other Kikuyu currently detained at Kapenguria.
17 April 1953
An additional 1000 Mau Mau suspects have been arrested over the past week around the capital Nairobi.
3 May 1953
Nineteen Kikuyu members of the Home Guard are murdered by the Mau Mau.
29 May 1953
Kikuyu tribal lands are to be cordoned off from the rest of Kenya to restrict movement of potential Mau Mau terrorists.
Another 100 Mau Mau suspects have been killed during British patrols in Kikuyu tribal lands.
15 January 1954
General China, the second in command of the Mau Mau’s military efforts is wounded and captured by British troops.
9 March 1954
Two more Mau Mau leaders have been secured: General Katanga is captured and General Tanganyika surrenders to British authority.
The great British plan to end the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya is presented to the country’s legislature — General China, captured in January, is to write to the other terrorist leaders suggesting that nothing further can be gained from the conflict and that they should surrender themselves to British troops waiting in the Aberdare foothills.