Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Kenya's Mau Mau: a bloody colonial-era conflict

11 September 2015, 16:05

Nairobi - Kenya's Mau Mau fighters battled British colonial rule, marking a key step towards independence, even though the movement itself was defeated in a brutal crackdown.

From 1952 to 1960 the guerrilla fighters - often with dreadlocked hair and wearing animal skins - terrorised colonial communities in the east African nation.

But while attention at the time focused on 32 murdered white settlers, the cost was far greater for Kenyans with at least 10 000 killed.

Also Read: African scientists funded to seek cures

Some historians put that toll far higher, at 25 000, while Kenya's Human Rights Commission says as many as 90,000 Kenyans were killed and 160 000 jailed in camps.

The fighters, drawn largely from the Kikuyu people of central Kenya, took up arms under the slogan "land and freedom". Based in remote forests, they staged guerrilla-style attacks, challenging white settlers for valuable land.

New memorial statue

Tens of thousands of those accused of supporting the fighters were rounded up and detained without trial in harshly run camps where reports of executions, torture and brutal beatings were common.

"They told us to dig our own graves," Wambugu Wa Nyingi told AFP in an earlier interview who, like thousands of others, was held without charge for nine years in British-run labour camps.

"When we refused, they beat us so hard that my skin was stripped off my back," said Nyingi, one of four Kenyans who gave evidence before a London court as to the abuse they suffered.

Also Read: African nations aim to brake surging trade in illegal timber

Officially called the Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA), the fighters were named "Mau Mau" reportedly for the secret code words for the group.

The new memorial statute, showing a woman handing a basket of food to a male fighter, has the pair turning their heads away from each other, so as not to reveal identies to each other in case they were caught.

The capture of a top leader, Dedan Kimathi, in October 1956 and his execution by hanging a year later was a significant blow to the movement.

The insurgency over, Kenya won self-rule in 1963, and full independence the following year.

But while the Mau Mau was a key step towards independence, it also provoked bitter divisions, between those who backed the fighters and those who served colonial forces. It remained outlawed until 2003.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...