The Mau Mau and the International African Struggle
I recently published an ebook titled “Jomo Kenyatta And The Mau Mau”, which is an ebook collection of two previously published essays which I wrote on Jomo Kenyatta and the Mau Mau in Kenya. The Mau Mau waged their struggle for liberation during a period of international struggle on the part of African people around the world. This is one of the points which is highlighted in my ebook. Malcolm X, for example, frequently referenced the Mau Mau in his speeches and argued that African Americans should adopt some of the tactics which the Mau Mau engaged in. Nelson Mandela described Dedan Kimathi and others as “candles in my long and hard war against injustice.” Mandela also denounced the manner in which the Mau Mau were treated by the post-colonial government of Kenya.
The Mau Mau also influenced the Pan-African struggles in the Caribbean. Jamaican scholar Horace Campbell argued that Rastas in the Caribbean began wearing dreadlocks in honor of the Mau Mau rebels, who drew their hair out. One particular group of Rastas known as Youth Black Faith supported the anti-colonial struggle which was being waged in Kenya. In Guyana (then known as British Guiana), Eusi Kwayana engaged in a hunger strike to protest against the use of heavy bombers against the Mau Mau fighters in Kenya.
The Mau Mau rebels themselves saw their struggle to liberate Kenya within the context of the larger Pan-African struggle. Kimathi wrote several letters to other leading Pan-African figures such as Kwame Nkrumah, W.E.B. Du Bois and George Padmore. In one of his letters, Kimathi explained: “I consider myself a great African patriot, fighting not for the liberation of Kenya alone, but for East Africa and the rest of the continent.”
As I explain in my two essays, once Kenya became independent, Kenyatta quickly exposed himself as an opportunist. The Mau Mau rebels who fought and died for Kenya’s liberation were cast aside by Kenyatta’s government, with many of them struggling and dying neglected and impoverished. This betrayal in Kenya is the same betrayal which Africans the world over suffered during this period of international activity.
Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook and Twitter.