H i s t o r yK E Profile picture
Jun 19, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/16 #HistoryKeThread: At the height of a land dispute between native Africans and the Europeans in central Kenya, the British Government in 1935 set up the Kenya Land Commission under Sir Morris Carter.
2/16 The mandate of the Commission was to examine the boundary disputes between black and white farmers and determine once and for all who owned which land.
3/16 Though other African tribes also lived around the highlands, the Commission’s main task was to find a way of appeasing the Agîkûyû without provoking open rebellion from white settlers. To this end, hundreds of different land claims were considered.
4/16 Some were genuine, some openly fraudulent. All in all, the Commission concluded that during the early years of white immigration, an injustice was indeed done to the Agïküyü.
5/16 Because of drought, famine, rinderpest and smallpox, roughly a hundred square miles in the vicinity of Nairobi, normally used by the tribe, had been lying vacant at the time the British marched through it.
6/16 To put matters right, therefore, the Commission decided to award the Agîkûyû more than a hundred miles of land close to the forest.
7/16 It was hoped that justice, finally, had been done at last.
8/16 However, neither the locals nor the whites were happy with the verdict. While the settlers considered the land award too much, the Agîkûyû felt shortchanged.
9/16 One of the Agîkûyû elders who added their voice to the land debate was Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (pictured). Although white, and a son of missionary parents, Louis was a member of the Mûkanda age set, to which many future Mau Mau leaders belonged.
10/16 He had been brought up as a child of the tribe and spoke the language so well that he often found himself thinking in gîkûyû. There wasn't a single European who spoke better gîkûyû.
11/16 In 1935, aged 32, Louis shared reasons he felt had given rise to the land conflict:
12/16 “To the white man bushland, as distinct from cultivated land and grassland, appeared to be unutilised land and many a settler who took up areas in the Kikuyu country in the early days holds firmly to the view that the land which he took over was...
13/16 ...unoccupied and unused, because it was virgin bush.
14/16 But to the African, virgin bush is the ideal pasturage for goats and sheep, and Kikuyu bushland was as much in use and occupation as are the great grassland farms of the European stock owners today....”
15/16 Interestingly, the foregoing reasons are till today the reason why there exists in Kenya inter-tribal feuds over land.
16/16 Louis Leakey is the father of Paleontologist Richard Leakey. He is seen in this old photo with his wife Mary Leakey, digging at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

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More from @HistoryKE

Oct 3, 2018
#RIPJosephKamaru: The curtain falls on the life of legendary Gîkûyû benga musician Joseph Kamaru, following a long illness.
This is the man whose debut 1969 hit track, Darling ya Mwarîmû (teacher’s darling), caused a storm in parliament and in the national teachers’ union, who threatened to go on strike.

It took Mzee Kenyatta’s intercession to put the storm to rest.
He composed hundreds of gîkûyû songs throughout his lifetime. In 1989, he released the track Safari ya Japan shortly after his return from the Asian country, where he had accompanied Kamaru retired President Moi on a state visit.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
#HistoryKeThread: Seen here conferring with then President Moi, Mr. Burudi Nabwera is a former diplomat, MP, Asst. Minister and later not only Secretary General of KANU in its heydays, but also a Minister for State.
Last year, the alumnus of Makerere University released his biography, ‘How It Happened’, a book that should be a good read for anyone interested in the politics of Kenya during the single-party era.
On 7th of October 1990, Mr. Nabwera caused a stir when he announced that the government would not prosecute anyone for the murder of former minister Robert Ouko. The report by Scotland Yard’s detective John Troon, Nabwera argued, had not named any killers.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 25, 2018
#HistoryKeThread An American’s Observation Of Life Among The Agîkûyû

Published in San Francisco, United States, Western Field was an American west coast monthly sports hunter magazine.

The magazine featured stories about the hunting exploits of various American hunters both at home and overseas.
One such adventurer was Elmer Davies, who spent some time among the Wakamba, Wataveta and the Agîkûyû in the period until sometime in early 1904.
Read 24 tweets
Sep 21, 2018
#HistoryKeThread: The Wadavida (Taita) Of Yore

In 1890, author Thomas Stevens authored the book, Scouting for Stanley.
The book is an account of the time Thomas spent in East Africa, where he had been sent to join in the search for legendary explorer Henry Morton Stanley.
In April of 1898, he camped at Ndara Hill among the Wataita. Here, a Rev. Wray of the Church Mission Society strived to teach the Wataita with much difficulty about the gospel of Christ. Perhaps this difficulty is what led Rev. Wray to dabble in farming.
Read 11 tweets
Sep 17, 2018
#HistoryKeThread: When Colonial Officials Adopted Locals As Mistresses

Hell hath no fury like a randy colonial officer stationed miles away from conjugal comfort.
In the early colonial years, the Governors' subordinates were initially men taken over from Imperial British EA Company (IBEAC). Later on, a professional class of colonial civil servants was recruited to take up the many administrative positions opening up in the colony.
Many of the officers had hardly gone beyond the age of 30.

As such, they invariably found themselves sexually starved and lonely. That is, if they didn't have African mistresses.
Read 19 tweets
Sep 3, 2018

Krapf’s Tough Crusade

In July, 1846, pioneering missionary Ludwig Krapf struggled to attend to his ailing, bed-ridden wife.

Krapf had suffered a debilitating fever and so had his wife, Mrs. Dietrich Krapf, who was in a worse state....
She had days earlier given birth to a baby girl at their budding Rabai mission.

Hours to her death, she asked Krapf to bury her right there at Rabai, saying she needed her remains to "constantly remind the passersby of the great object which...
...had brought the servants of the church of Christ to their country...."

Krapf would much later write that his wife "wished to be preaching to them by the lonely spot which encloses her earthly remains."
Read 16 tweets

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