By Frank Furedi
“This promises to be a powerful book: well balanced, well researched, thought-provoking and readable. It has come to grips with many of the questions that have been implicitly raised by Kanogo (1987), Throup (1987), and Spencer (1985). Its particular strengths lie in its attention to: the forest squatters, the role of squatter traders in the townships, and in the fact that it was not the settlers but the Emergency that finally broke the back of squatterdom in the highlands.”
A. S. Atieno Odhiambo, professor of history, Rice University
The book breaks new ground in following the story of the participants of the rural movement during the decade after the defeat of the Mau Mau. New archival sources and interviews provide exciting material on the mechanics of the sociology of decolonization and on the containment of rural radicalism in Kenya. For the first time an account of decolonization in Kenya based on primary sources is offered to the reader.
The Mau Mau was militarily crushed in the mid-fifties, but the struggle for land rights was only contained in the post independence era of Kenya. Kikuyu squatters on European estates who formed the backbone of this movement are the main subject of this book.
Furedi's account considers how the radicalization of rural protest in the so-called White Highlands led to the Mau Mau explosion and how it was sustained during the subsequent fifteen years.
The book establishes a focus for discussion of these critical events through exploring the relationship between rural resistance and decolonization. The author argues that the main issue facing post-colonial policies in Kenya was to resolve the problems raised by the Mau Mau revolt.
Written from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a special emphasis on historical and political sociology, this book is aimed at students of African politics and political sociologists interested in rural revolution and revolt.
Frank Furedi is in the Chair at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury. More info →
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John Lonsdale says in his introduction: “This is the oral evidence of the Kikuyu villagers with whom Greet Kershaw lived as an aid worker during the Mau Mau ‘Emergency’ in the 1950s, and which is now totally irrecoverable in any form save in her own field notes.
This story of Kenya in the decade before the outbreak of the Mau Mau emergency presents an integrated view of imperial government as well as examining the social and economic causes of the Kikuyu revolt. Dr. Throup combines traditional Imperial History with its emphasis on the high politics of “The Official Mind” in the Colonial Office or in Government House with the new African historiography that concentrates on the people themselves.
This is a study of the genesis, evolution, adaptation and subordination of the Kikuyu squatter labourers, who comprised the majority of resident labourers on settler plantations and estates in the Rift Valley Province of the White Highlands. These squatters played a crucial role in the initial build-up of the events that led to the outbreak of the Mau Mau war.