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“We have stolen his land,” declared the British explorer and land-grabber

 Colonel Grogan. “Now it is time to steal his limbs.” The colonial regime

enforced compulsory labor from African women and men.

Dedan Kimathi



Books by Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Hurling Words at Consciousness / Conversing with Africa: Politics of Change

Books on Rebellion in Kenya

Histories of the Hanged  / Imperial Reckoning

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Lynched Mau Mau Leader Dedan Kimathi

Honored with Statue  in Nairobi -- His Remains Have Yet To Be Found

By Stephen Millies


Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi was executed on Feb. 18, 1957, by the British occupiers of Kenya. Being captured with a loaded revolver was enough to send this freedom fighter to the gallows. Kimathi was hanged because he was a leader of Kenya’s Land and Freedom Army, demonized by the media as the “Mau Mau.”

According to David Anderson’s Histories of the Hanged1,090 Africans were hanged in the 1950s by Britain’s colonial regime in Kenya. Just for supplying food to guerilla fighters—labeled “consorting”—the colonialists sent 207 people to their deaths.

In her Pulitzer Prize winning book Imperial Reckoning Caroline Elkins estimated that 300,000 Kenyans were thrown into concentration camps.

Elkins and her assistant Ms. Terry Wairimu, a researcher at the Kenyan National Archives, interviewed 300 survivors. They heard how Alsatian dogs mauled women inmates at the Athi River camp and guards clubbed prisoners arriving at the Manyani camp.

Six hundred children were confined in Kamati camp alone. Almost none survived. “Hard Core Mau Mau” supporters were selected to bury the children. “They would be tied in bundles of six babies,” recalled former inmate Helen Macharia. . . . Over a million Kikuyu people were forced into 800 “emergency villages” built with their own slave labor. . . .

Stealing the land

In 1895, British Queen Victoria declared a “protectorate” over Kenya and Uganda. A few British settlers stole the best land. One named Lord Delamere grabbed 160,000 acres.

Troops wielding machine guns forced Africans into “native reserves” that were modeled on U.S. Indian reservations. As in South Africa under apartheid, Africans were forced to carry a pass, known in Kenya as a “kipande.”

“We have stolen his land,” declared the British explorer and land-grabber Colonel Grogan. “Now it is time to steal his limbs.” The colonial regime enforced compulsory labor from African women and men. Ten thousand workers, many from India, were killed or maimed building a 582-mile long railroad from Mombasa to Lake Victoria.

“Illiterates with the right attitude to manual labor are preferable to products of the schools” declared a 1949 report written by Anglican Bishop Leonard Beecher. Three high schools at the time annually admitted 100 African students.

The average yearly wage of 385,000 African workers in 1948 was $73. . . .

Kenyan revolutionaries made preparations for armed struggle against the oppressive colonial rule. Kenya’s colonial Governor Evelyn Baring responded by declaring a state of emergency on Oct. 20, 1952. The governor’s family controlled Barings Bank, founded in 1762 by the slave trader Francis Baring. . . .

Mau Mau fighters stole weapons and ammunition. Blacksmiths made hundreds of guns. Britain mobilized 55,000 soldiers and cops to fight the Mau Mau. The Royal Air Force bombed guerrilla strongholds in Aberdares Forest and Kirinyaga.

A posse led by Ian Henderson finally captured Field Marshal Kimathi on Oct. 21, 1956. A notorious torturer of Mau Mau suspects, Henderson’s cruelty couldn’t stop the revolution. Twenty thousand Mau Mau guerrillas didn’t die in vain. Kenya declared its independence on Dec. 12, 1963.

Africa remembers its heroes. Kimathi’s execution is commemorated and streets are named in his honor. A statue of Dedan Kimathi was unveiled in Nairobi on Dec. 11, 2006.

In October 2006, Mau Mau veterans filed a suit against the British government for reparations, charging it with systematic torture of Kenyan freedom fighters during the struggle for independence. The fallen and wounded “Mau Mau” are being avenged in Iraq and wherever else people are fighting against imperialist occupation for land and freedom.

Source: Stephen Millies, "Kenyans honor liberation hero Dedan Kimathi." Workers

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Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi Waciuri was the head of the Mau Mau, a militant group that waged a guerrilla war against the British colonial government in Kenya. Kenya's independence from British rule is largely attributed to the spirited fight the Mau Mau put up under the stewardship of Dedan Kimathi. The Mau Mau began as the Land and Freedom Army, a militant Kikuyu army out to reclaim their land that had been stripped from them by the colonialists. As its influence and membership widened it became a major threat to the colonialists.

The Mau Mau movement sprung from Central Kenya, home of the populous Kikuyu community. The movement, even though heavily Kikuyu, enjoyed nationwide support as it forced the colonialists to pay attention to Kenyan demands. The Mau Mau was outlawed in 1952, amid rising tensions in the Kenya political scene. The banning also saw a massive round-up of Kenyan political leaders, including Kenya's first President, Jomo Kenyatta.

On February 18, 1957, Dedan Kimathi was executed by the colonialists at the notorious Kamiti Maximum Prison, where his remains are still believed to be buried in an unmarked grave. This has been a very contentious issue among Kenyans, and indeed other prominent African nationalists like President Nelson Mandela, who believe that Kimathi is a legendary figure and should be accorded a state burial with full rights. Such requests have fallen on deaf ears for reasons nobody can/or will ever comprehend. In fact, on President Mandela's last visit to Kenya in 1990, he almost caused a major embarrassment to President Moi's administration when he inquired about the whereabouts of Kimathi's widow.

Source: Kenya740--Dedan

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Dedan Kimathi was born on October 31, 1920 in Tetu location in the North Tetu Division of Nyeri District. He used the surname of Wachiuri, his mother’s former husband who had died some years before his birth. Wachiuri had three wives and so it was a large family. Kimathi had two brothers (Wambararia and Wagura) and two sisters.

There are many stories about his legendary pranks as a child but it is impossible to say how many are true and how many are mythical and have grown with the legend. At the age of fifteen he became a pupil at Karunaini Primary School in Tetu and excelled at English and poetry.

To raise money for his school fees he established a small night class where, every evening, he taught other youngsters whatever he had learnt during the day. In exchange he took money or paraffin or soap, which he then sold at Ihururu Market.

Three years later he became a pupil at a more advanced school, Wandumbi, on the Tetu/Thegenge borders. This time the fees came from the seeds of Grevillia Robusta which he collected in the Aberdares and for which the Forestry Department was paying a cent a tin.

On September 17, 1938 he was circumcised at the Ihururu Dispensary. In 1939 he got his kipande from the DC’s office and got his first job with the Forestry Department. Leaving there under a cloud he met and impressed a teacher called Eliud Mugo from Mathira Division. Eliud, blind in one eye and later to become a notoriously oppressive Chief in lriaini Location during the Emergency, arranged for Kimathi to enroll at the Tumutumu CSM School. He stayed there for two years, save for a three-month break in 1941 when he joined the army. He finally left Tumutumu in February 1944, being unable to pay fees arrears.

Over the next five years he tried different ways of earning a living, becoming a school teacher, a clerk with first a dairy and then a timber firm, and a trader. In January 1949 he got a job, but not for long, as a teacher at his old school Karinaini. 

But wherever he went and whatever he did Kimathi became a welcome and popular figure with his fellow Kikuyus on his travels. He had a powerful and attractive personality and he began to involve himself in the politics of the day, and also of the night.

Initially he was just one of the stewards at the mass rallies held by Kenyatta and other politicians. However, he speedily graduated and became the chief organiser. He was elected secretary of the Ol Kalou and Thomson’s Falls branch of the Kenya African Union (KAU) on June 2, 1952. It is widely accepted that he was already planning a more proactive and aggressive strategy than the Muhimu Central Committee with whom he had long forged links.

Four months later he was involved in organising a mass oathing ceremony on the banks of the Gura River, which was attended by thousands of Kikuyus. Nderi Wang’ombe, the Nyeri District Senior Chief, got wind of what was happening. Fatally, Nderi decided to intervene and he was killed by the frenzied crowd. Kimathi became a marked man and shortly afterwards he was arrested by Chief Muhoya’s Tribal Police at a friend’s house.

At the Chief’s Camp, he did a deal with the guards and disappeared in the night to the Aberdares. He was now 32 years old and entering the most important four years of his life.

By the end of it he had been, at the least, a crucial factor in forcing the British Government to reassert its right to dictate the pace of constitutional change in Kenya. British Colonial Secretaries henceforth used this right rapidly too dismantle the white settlers’ political power in Kenya, some more ruthlessly than others.

Source: "The making of a freedom hero." Sunday Standard, Kenya, 17th Feb. 2002 (Misterseed)

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Dedan Kimathi (October 31, 1920 – February 18, 1957) was . . . . born in Thenge Village Tetu division, Nyeri District. At the age of fifteen, he joined the local primary school, Karuna-ini, where he perfected his English skills. He would later use those language skills to write extensively before and during the uprising. He was a Debate Club member in his school. He was deeply religious and carried a Bible regularly. He worked for the forest department collecting tree seeds to help him foot his school bill. He later joined Tumutumu CSM School for his secondary learning, but dropped out for lack of funds. . . . Notable was his enlisting with the army to fight in the Second World War in 1941. However, in 1944, he was expelled for misconduct. In 1946, he became a member of the Kenya African Union.

In 1949, he started teaching at his old school, but left the job within two years. . . . He became radically political in 1950. He involved himself with the Mau Mau, and later that year administered the oath of the Mau Mau, making him a marked man. He joined Forty Group, the militant wing of the defunct Kikuyu Central Association in 1951. He was elected as a local branch secretary of KAU in Ol' Kalou and Thomson's Falls area in 1952. He was briefly arrested in that same year, but escaped with the help of local police. This marked the beginning of his violent uprising. He formed Kenya Defence Council to co-ordinate all forest fighters in 1953.

In 1956, he was finally arrested with one of his wives, Wambui. He was sentenced to death by a court presided by Chief Justice Sir Kenneth O'Connor, while he was in a hospital bed at the General Hospital Nyeri. In the early morning of February 18, 1957 he was executed by the colonial government. Kimathi was buried in a mass grave and to this day the British government objects to his reburial as it felt (and continues to feel) that he was a terrorist. He is, however, viewed by many Kenyans especially from his tribe as a national hero. Many towns in Kenya have a building or street named after him.

The play "Trial of Dedan Kimathi" was written by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (the brother of a Mau Mau member) and provides a detailed account of Kimathi.

Source: Answers

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Revelations by contemporaries of Dedan Kimathi, the Kenyan hero who led the Mau Mau rebellion against the British colonial regime and was eventually hanged, indicate that his remains were buried at Nairobi’s Langata Cemetery and not at the Kamiti Maximum Prison as is widely believed.

He was buried in his own grave, not in a mass one, as has been assumed all along, they say.

In the light of these revelations, it is being asked whether the government has deliberately kept the public in the dark about the location of Kimathi’s grave in the face of persistent demands for the reburial of the remains with full national honour.

On November 29, Assistant Minister in the Office of the President William Ruto told Parliament that the Commissioner of Prisons "ought to know, by law, where the graves of all the convicts who have been hanged are."

He was answering a question by Adolf Muchiri of the Democratic Party regarding the release of Dedan Kimathi's remains as well as those of other executed convicts for reburial by their relatives.

On November 14, a similar question was asked by the same MP. Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Wycliff Osundwa answered that the remains of Dedan Kimathi "will not be released from Kamiti Maximum Prison," adding that the law prohibited the exhumation of a prisoner’s body for reburial.

The debate continues, with the front bench advising the relatives of Dedan Kimathi and others to petition President Daniel arap Moi.

Kimathi was hanged in the early hours of February 18, 1957, after being tried and convicted under the Emergency Regulations promulgated by the colonial government.

Chief Justice Sir Kenneth O’Connor, who presided over the trial of Kimathi, found the Mau Mau leader guilty of possession of a revolver and six rounds of ammunition, an offence that carried a death sentence, and consequently sentenced him to hang. . . .

Source: Joseph Karimi, "Dedan Kimathi was buried at Lang'ata." Nation Audio

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African Film: New Forms of Aesthetics and Politics

By Manthia Diawara

In this book Manthia Diawara, a renowned scholar on Black cinema, literature, and art brings readers up to date on the exciting changes taking place behind and in front of African cameras. Contributions by filmmakers, scholars, and producers as well as profiles of thirty important African directors and their films, provide valuable insight into recent developments. The volume comes with a DVD containing several interviews with filmmakers conducted by the author. Scholars, students, and anyone interested in cinematic and African cultural studies will find much to discover and celebrate in this authoritative, fascinating look at new trends in African filmmaking.

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In Search of Africa

By Manthia Diawara

Manthia Diawara is able to see Guinea with a nostalgia that doesn't turn a blind eye to the nation's faults, pointing out what needs to be done without falling prey to "Afro-pessimism." In one heartfelt passage, recalling his upbringing in revolutionary Guinea, Diawara writes: "My life began when the new nations were born, in the late 1950s. We had been full of hope then, determined to change Africa, to catch up quickly with the modern world, to show that black people could use their culture and civilization, as other people did, to lead them into modernity." But, as Diawara relates throughout the book, that didn't happen. He painfully recounts how he and his family were forced to leave Guinea and how the country sank into a Marxist-oriented dictatorial nightmare.

While not overlooking the horrible historical impact of the slave trade and European colonialism, Diawara also blames internal corruption and dangerous African ethnic customs, like female genital mutilation, for his country's underdevelopment. Ultimately, however, he remains confident that this people will one day ascend to their full political, economic, and cultural potential: "Our desire to be modernized has been awakened, and it cannot be denied. Women want liberation from traditional oppression; we all want access to education and material wealth; and we are tired of being ignored by the world."—Amazon Review

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

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The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali

By Ian Gibson

In his detailed and excellent book on Dali, Ian Gibson has documented Dali’s identification with fascism in Spain from the very beginning. During the civil war, Dali never came out in support of the Republic.  He did not collaborate, for example, in the Paris Fair in 1937, where Picasso presented his Guernica, aimed at raising funds for the Republican cause.  And he soon made explicit his sympathies for the fascist coup of 1936 and for the dictatorship that it established in a letter to Buñuel, a well-known filmmaker in Spain.  He made explicit and known his admiration for the figure and writing of the founder of the Spanish fascist party (La Falange), José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and used in his speeches and writings the fascist narrative and expressions (such as the fascist call “Arriba España”), referring to the special role Spain had in promoting the imperial dreams over other nations.  He sympathized with the anti-Semitic views of Hitler and celebrated Franco’s alliance with Hitler and Mussolini against France, Great Britain and the United States.  He also welcomed the “solution to the national problem” in vogue in Nazi and fascist circles at that time. Dali became the major defender of the Franco dictatorship in the artistic world. 

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Related files: A Glimpse into African Consciousness  Justice for Mau Mau War Veterans   Lynched Mau Mau Leader Dedan Kimathi