Jomo Kenyatta: Towards Truth about "The Light of Kenya"

Jomo Kenyatta: Towards Truth about "The Light of Kenya"

Jomo Kenyatta: Towards Truth about "The Light of Kenya"

Jomo Kenyatta: Towards Truth about "The Light of Kenya"

Excerpt

Leading nationalist politicians often acquire contradictory reputations, but few have attracted such controversy as the Kenya African leader, Jomo Kenyatta. Convicted in 1953 of managing the Mau Mau rebellion, which was eventually surpressed at a cost of more than thirteen thousand lives and 50 million pounds, Kenyatta was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, to be followed by indefinite restriction in some remote area. As late as mid-1960 the Governor of Kenya refused repeated African requests for his release, on the grounds that he was "the African leader to darkness and death" and was a menace to security. The official report on Mau Mau, published at the same time, claimed that Jomo Kenyatta had deliberately misled his followers for his own perverted ends and had "preached a calculated hymn of hate" against his white rulers. And yet, far from diminishing, Kenyatta's popularity among Kenya Africans continued to grow until he became something of a myth.

Kenyatta became in the eyes of his followers a symbol, not of perverted witchcraft and hate, but of African freedom and self-respect. They did not ignore the fact that it was Jomo Kenyatta who had first demanded those political and civil liberties which the British Government had conceded so rapidly, after Mau Mau had revealed the depth of African unrest. At the time of writing, at the end of 1960 . . .

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