Afr 302 section 1
In the colonial period, an estimated amount of thirty-thousand British settlers came to live in Kenya. Most of those settlers were farmers. Deprivation of land and constant demands for their rights were some of the major aspects that had the Kenyans rebelling against the British. Before the settlers’ arrival, the Kikuyu were farming the same lands that were eventually given to the settlers. Initially, the Kikuyu thought that the British invasion would be for their benefit as the British would be able to shield them from their enemies. The Kikuyu is the largest group of people to be known in Kenya. The kikuyu is an ethnic group of people who makes up about 20% of Kenya’s population. These people were lacking in wages, lands and employments while white settlers were given all these necessities which highlighted the inequality that would further give birth to the Mau Mau Rebellion.
The British were very manipulative as they weaken the strength of authority in the kikuyu. Lack of food, strong leaders removed by imprisonment or execution and segregating people such as women and children in concentrated villages were some of the reason that helped the fall of the Mau Mau movement. Africans fought for things such as land and labor rights which were the original foundation of Kenya’s agriculture in addition to its political economy. Economic issues such as increased power attributed to the British’s existence in Kenya. The Kikuyu worked with political groups that were gradually developed during the years of dissatisfaction from the lack of response they received from the colonial government. The Africans were politically misrepresented while poverty took a toll on the population. The settlers proclaimed their innocence by constantly saying that they wanted to civilize kenya. The British refused to notice any legitimate reasons for the uprising of the Mau Mau revolt. They betrayed the Africans by saying that they were going to educate them but instead forcibly took them out of their homes and beat them. The British were also able to use pre-existing altercations to make Africans fight with their own people to take control of their lands. The Mau Mau movement was mainly highlighted by situations such as low or no wages and low standard of living which generated the grievances that fueled the revolt. The revolt’s aim was to remove the rules and regulations that were implemented by the British and also to remove European settlers. Many of the Africans were loyal to the British and fought in the Mau Mau movement. The British blindsided the kikuyu hiding major political and economical issues in addition to their main objectives from the Africans. Thus, this resulted in a revolt for not just freedom but for also reclaiming their stolen lands.
The British felt the need to educate and bring their civilizations to the Kenyans which opportunistically revealed itself as conquering the Kenyans and stealing their possessions. In short, this was “the white man’s burden”. The colonial authorities wanted to modernize Kenya but the Kikuyu who welcomed these settlers were being mistreated and subjected to the theft of their crops, women being raped, men being beaten to death and or murdered for resisting the British orders. A very small amount of the African population had paid employments. In this period, customary laws verses colonial laws help to point out some of the major factors of colonial rules whereas settlers had the outright ownership of properties. The Mau Mau movement was a combination of both a nationalist movement and an ethnic-based revolt considering that the kikuyu people were the ethnic group who were mainly affected by the Mau Mau.