Colonialism in Kenya - SourceWatch
5 Sorrenson, M. P. K., Origins of European Settlement in Kenya (Nairobi, R. M. A., The Agricultural History of Kenya, Historical Association of Kenya, Pamphlet No. .. 74 See reports of stock sales selling indigenous cattle in the Rift Valley in. would say that the relations of the European to the African are based solely on the self-interest of the European. In a word he suggests that we are in Africa to. As Fanon noted, violence was inherent in inter-racial relations in settler colonies, and to milking the cows or cleaning the kitchen (if, in fact, Europeans ever Settler violence against Africans has been mentioned by historians of Kenya only against the just punishment of the Native, and the application of stern discipline .
The protectorate was administered from Zanzibar, the residence of the first Commissioner, Sir Arthur Harding. From the beginning, the indigenous peoples strongly resisted the imposition of foreign rule. In particular, the Nandi in the interior of the country were distinguished resisters of the empire's incursion.
A series of British military expeditions inand eventually forced the Nandi to capitulate, with great loss of life on the Nandi side. British rule led to far-reaching social and economic changes.
History of Kenya
Since East Africa attracted many British immigrants, Kenya had a substantial British community until independence. As mentioned earlier, the Highlands were largely owned by British farmers.
When European employers attempted to cut the wages of their indigenous employees inworkers staged mass protests and demonstrations. A workers' meeting held in a Nairobi suburb condemned the wage cuts and the refusal on the part of European estate and factory owners to provide housing, food and medical services. This meeting gave rise to the Young Kikuyu Association, Kenya's first all-African political organization.
This association soon formed branches in many parts of the country to protest the allocation of most of the colony's fertile land to Europeans. In March,Harry Thuku, leader of the Association, was arrested and subsequently deported for several years. The Association intensified its campaign against land alienation, and against tax and labor laws. In the British government announced that "the interests of the African natives" would forthwith be under their control.
In local councils were organized to assist the colonial power in governing Africans; these councils operated through chiefs who, among the Kikuyu, had little or no traditional standing.
In Kenyatta was sent twice to Great Britain in an unsuccessful effort to voice KCA views and African grievances before a parliamentary committee on the union of Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda. Kenyatta was obliged to remain away from Kenya until During the s the KCA became the voice of an emerging Kikuyu consciousness until it was officially banned in In the late s the Kamba and Taita formed associations of their own that were similarly designed to serve tribal aims.
The Union promptly demanded access to the highlands, which were then largely owned by white settlers. In late Kenyatta returned to Kenya as the unrivaled leader of nationalist movement; in mid he was elected to the presidency of the KAU. It was Kenyatta's ambition to bring together the country's disparate political bodies into the KAU. To achieve this goal, Kenyatta proposed that the ethnic character of KAU leadership be broadened.
By the KAU could count aboutmembers throughout Kenya. It soon became the primary catalyst in a mass movement that led ultimately to political supremacy in little more than a decade. The Mau Mau, a secret society largely composed of Kikuyu, initiated a campaign of terror against highland settlers between and The campaign also resulted, however, in thousands of African causalities when Kikuyu factions turned on one another.
The Mau Mau arose out of a complex set of political, social and economic circumstances. At the heart of Kikuyu grievances was the recovery of their land that was taken over by settlers.
From the beginning of the century, white settlers had appropriated land for their plantations. Although the Masai lost more land than the Kikuyu, Kikuyu traditional life placed a high value on land ownership. A complex system of land ownership existed among the Kikuyu that white settlers ignored. The Mau Mau thorugh violence tried to achieve some of the same goals as the KAU, primarily land tenure security, representation in government and better wages and working conditions.
Many Kikuyu were repatriated into reservations, and some escaped into the forest to avoid this. It was from these men that the Mau Mau recruited its fighters. Oath taking became an important component of Mau Mau participation.
Oaths were a cultural tool that built solidarity and bound the Kikuyu men, women and children to oppose the colonial government. The British then declared martial law which led to the interrogation and detention of thousands of Kikuyu.
They were supported by civilian noncombatants who supplied them food, medicine, arms and intelligence. From the protection of the forest, the Mau Mau trained and launched guerrilla attacks against colonial post offices, police stations, European settlements and farms as well as punishing Africans who supported the colonial government Despite these efforts to control African political activity, wider African representation quickly followed. In African members were elected to the Legislative Council through a restricted franchise.
Inthe Resident Native Ordinance was passed to demand that squatter payments were made in labor and not in kind or in cash. This was done to keep the squatter farms from competing with or even eclipsing settler farms.
As reserves became more crowded, more people left them to become squatters and then they lost the ability to return. Over time, squatter plots became smaller and the amount of time they were required to work for settlers increased. Ina squatter must work for a settler for three months, but this increased to six months in and eight months in March In some areas squatters were barred from keeping any livestock at all, and where livestock were allowed they were restricted to an average of only 15 sheep.
Although they were usually allowed to cultivate between one and a half to two acres of land, with increased labour demands ranging from a minimum of to days and with no wage increases, it would appear that their subordination was virtually complete.
The land was of poor quality, and the Kikuyus, who constituted the majority of the squatters, refused to move to them. Thus, inthere were more than 30, evicted, landless squatters. Generally Europeans occupied the top positions, Asians [Indians] were in the middle, while Africans were at the bottom of the occupational hierarchy. Among the Africans the labour market was dominated by people from the Central and Nyanza provinces, particularly the KikuyuLuo and Luyia.
Focus on Land | Brief: History of Land Conflicts in Kenya | Countries
Women's participatin in the formal labour market was low because of the combined influences of traditional and European patriarchalism which prescribed a rigid system of division of labour patterned along gender lines. Within the cities "prostitution was one of the few areas open to African women.
Prostitution was officially tolerated, indeed encouraged, because it served as a 'wage depressant, disincentive for labours to bring their families to town. This avoided too much unseemly competition for the saving of African souls.
The missions set up primary schools and set about educating mostly men but some women. The missionaries were invited onto the Legislative Council "to represent 'African interests'. The name was later changed to the Loyal Kikuyu Patriots.
It called for better pay and improved conditions for urban African workers. While it was multi-ethnic, it was dominated by the Kikuyu, "who filled the majority of the better-paid African jobs in Nairobi. By the next day, a crowd of of his supporters gathered.
Colonialism in Kenya
The police shot some of the protestors, and reports of the number dead range from 28 to InKCA opened a Nairobi office. Jomo Kenyatta joined the organization and became its secretary. Kenyatta left Kenya for London in to represent the KCA to the Colonial Office and he lived there untilwith the exception of a brief period in At the end of the s, KCA clashed with the churches over the issue of female genital mutilationwhich was a common Kikuyu practice at the time.
This episode increased the support of the KCA among the Kikuyu people.