26 December, 2007

Dedan Kimathi

Dedan Kimathi Waciuri (truly, Kimathi wa Waciuri), Field Marshal, (October 31, 1920 – February 18, 1957) was a Kenyan rebel leader who fought against British colonization in Kenya in the 1950s. He was convicted and executed by the British colonial government. The British colonial government that ruled Kenya at the time considered him a terrorist, as did "loyalist" Kenyans who supported the British occupation and seizure of Kikuyu lands and opposed the Mau Mau Uprising.
According to some sources, under his leadership, the Mau Mau killed at least two thousand Kenyan civilians. The Mau Mau rebels killed only 32 European settlers, and fewer than 200 British soldiers in the eight year uprising. The British in turn killed 20,000 Mau Mau rebels in combat, hung over 1000 suspected Mau Mau supporters, and interned more than 70,000 Kikuyu civilians for years in brutal detention camps on suspicion of providing material support for the Uprising. In her Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya", the Harvard historian Caroline Elkins argued that during the uprising the British detained over one million Kikuyu in what essentially were concentration camps, exposing them to untold suffering, torture and death. Non-loyalist Kenyans, particularly of the Kikuyu tribe, viewed Kimathi as a freedom fighter. His reputation as the leading fighter for Kenyan freedom remains today, and a bronze statue of "Freedom Fighter Dedan Kimathi" on a graphite plinth has been erected in central Nairobi. Read more from: Wikipedia
More on Dedan Kimathi: Nathanielturner, KBC, Workers World, The EastAfrican, Kenya740, The New Black Magazine, Books
Image: Workers World

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