WHAT MUST BE DONE: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL REFORMS
In the last chapter I indicated that while it was true that the pressure on land in the Kikuyu Native Land Unit had provided one of the genuine grievances, which had made it possible for Mau Mau propaganda to succeed, the remedy did not lie solely in finding more land for the tribe, but in doing certain other things which would have the effect of easing the pressure.
There is another aspect of this same problem which is social rather than economic, and yet has a major bearing on the economic aspect.
The increase in Kikuyu population over the past fifty years has been phenomenal. This has been due to a number of causes and is one of the principal reasons why the pressure on the land is now so great. In the olden days, Kikuyu law did not allow a woman to have a child more than once in three years, and if you asked an Elder why this law was made, he would reply, 'Because if she did, the child she was nursing and the child in her womb would both suffer, and the woman would suffer too'. In order to obey this rule of spaced births the Kikuyu women did not abstain from sex life after the birth of a baby, but practised a form of birth control which seems to have been very effective. The only conditions under which this rule was relaxed was when a baby died in infancy, and then a woman would take all possible steps to have another baby as soon as possible.
This rule of spaced birth had the effect of slowing down the birth rate, while, in addition, the rate of infant mortality between birth and about the age of six or seven was so