H i s t o r yK E Profile picture
Jul 23, 2018 17 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/16 #HistoryKeThread: This is John H. Patterson, he of the Man Eaters of Tsavo (book) fame and engineer-in-charge of the railway bridge at Tsavo. He is pictured at camp on 10th December 1898, a day after he killed the first of two lions that terrorized...
2/16 ...workers camped by the Tsavo River.
3/16 The two lions, christened The Ghost and The Darkness, instituted a reign of terror for many a night at the construction camp. In his book, Patterson noted that “between them [the lions], no less than 28 Indian coolies [labourers], in addition to scores of...
4/16 ...unfortunate African natives of whom no official record was kept” were killed.
5/16 So terrified were the workers that some of them, believing that the entire mission was cursed, and in spite of assurances by Patterson, abandoned work and returned to Mombasa. Angry sit-ins and boycotts took place each time the lions claimed a victim.
6/16 Accordingly, the lions’ reign of terror delayed construction of the bridge over Tsavo. Realising that the menace of the man-eaters had to be dealt with urgently, Patterson dispatched messages seeking help from European administrators.
7/16 The local Tsavo District Officer at the time, a Mr. Whitehead, volunteered himself.
8/16 He arrived by train on the night of 2nd December 1898, a day after a mass exodus of workers had taken place.
9/16 Whitehead disembarked and walked towards the camp, accompanied by an assistant, Abdullah.
10/16 Without the lamp that Abdullah held in his hand, it was not possible in the indiscernible dark to see the path from the station to the camp.
11/16 Suddenly, out of the darkness, a lion leaped at Whitehead, tearing into his back with its claws. Startled, Whitehead instinctively shot his weapon.
12/16 He missed.
13/16 The lion froze, no doubt rattled by the loud gunshot. Then almost immediately the lion violently pounced on Abdullah and dragged him off into the darkness.
14/16 In the wee hours of the morning, a concerned Patterson, rifle in hand, went out look for Whitehead as he was supposed to have arrived the previous night. The two would later bump into each other somewhere in the Tsavo grasslands.
15/16 Patterson led a shaken Whitehead (pictured here) to camp, where the latter’s injuries were attended to.
16/16 Abdullah’s severely devoured remains were found later.
I’d recommend that folks read Patterson’s book (preferred), if not then find and watch the movie Ghost and The Darkness.

But some scenes depicted in the movie were at significant variance to actual events captured in the book.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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