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Jul 14, 2018 23 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/23 #HistoryKeThread: In early 1905, Nandi warriors attacked a caravan in the Uasin Gishu plateau and made away with unspecified items.
2/23 This was not the kind of welcome that a task force from the Zionist Congress expected. Ironically, the task force had come on a mission to scout for land in which Jews could be settled harmoniously; land that the British Foreign Office had set aside for...
3/23 ...the “Uganda Plan”.
4/23 The British Foreign Office, which administered Palestine at the time, was determined to settle Jews in areas other than the conflict-prone Middle East. The Jews on their part wanted to be settled in their original homeland, the Holy Land.
5/23 The Uganda Plan was therefore an initiative in the late 19th century mooted by Britain to settle Jews in the Uasin Gishu Plateau, which is in Kenya but was then under the Uganda Protectorate.
6/23 One of the jewish proponents of the Uganda Plan was Zionist leader Theodor Herzl. He supported the plan not because he didn’t want his people settled in the land of Israel, but out of desperation to save Jewish lives.
7/23 But Jewish leaders around the world refused to be settled in Africa, leading Herzl to famously remark: “These people have a rope around their neck and still refuse...”
8/23 Nonetheless, the Uganda Plan was approved for consideration. An exploratory expedition sponsored by the Zionist movement was planned. However, lack of funds and protracted negotiations with the British Foreign Office on the exact size and location of the...
9/23 ...settlement delayed it.
10/23 Herzl passed away in July of 1903 before the expedition could be carried out. David Wolffsohn succeeded him as President of the World Zionist Organisation.
11/23 In the summer of 1904, a non-Jewish Englishwoman, Mrs. E.A. Gordon, donated funds for the expedition. Thus in December of 1904, Wolffsohn dispatched the Uganda Plan task force, which was headed by Major A. Hill Gibbons, to Mombasa. Professor Alfred...
12/23 ...Kaiser, a Swiss explorer and scientist, and Nachum Wilbusch, a Russian civil engineer and the only Jew of the three, were other members of the task force.
13/23 Upon reaching Mombasa, the task force’s caravan set off for the interior of Kenya. They spent about two months - during which time they suffered at least one reported attack by Nandi tribesmen - exploring the area around Uasin Gishu Plateau.
14/23 They then returned to Europe to hand in their recommendations.
15/23 Prof. Kaiser was ambivalent on the Uganda Plan, as was Major Gibbons. On his part, Wilbusch was completely opposed to the Uganda Plan.
16/23 On 22nd May 1905, a sub-committee of the World Zionist Congress sat in Vienna to review the report from the expedition. They unanimously voted to recommend to the Congress that the Uganda Plan be rejected.
17/23 And that’s what the Congress later adopted. Their decision was subsequently conveyed to London.
18/23 The planned settlement of Jews in East Africa was also vehemently opposed by white settlers. Through their leader, Lord Delamere, they expressed their “strong objections” against “invasion by alien Jews...”.
19/23 The pro-settler East African Standard newspaper ran articles that were critical of the proposed Jewish settlement. Some of the articles had unflattering comments, even snide references about sections of East Africa being turned into “Jewganda”.
20/23 And although it was rejected, the Uganda Plan and negotiations related to it helped put the nascent Kenya colony on the global map. It helped attract both Jewish and non-Jewish settlers into the country, mostly from Europe, of course.
21/23 Who knows? Perhaps if it wasn’t for his death, Theodor Herzl would have succeeded in helping create a jewish state in Kenya, which we understand means “God’s nest” in Hebrew.
22/23 You can read my previous post about the history of Kenyan Jews on
23/23 Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and The Standard.

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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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