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Sep 17, 2018 19 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
#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.
In those days, crown officials had to seek permission before they could marry, and some districts were barred to white wives. It therefore became common feature for white colonial civil servants to 'adopt' local mistresses.
In fact, one DC in Nandi district in 1903 had a whole harem.

On some occasions, many actually, church missionaries and some settlers deplored the use by crown officials of African women as concubines.
A settler, Scoresby Routledge, in 1908 complained to the Governor that the Nyeri DC, Hubert Silberrad, kept concubines.
The matter was raised in Parliament in England where one MP, Cathcart Wason, created a stir when he said that British civil servants in East Africa "lacked the same facilities as MPs, who could just walk outside and take their pick of white women".

When the Prime Minister’s...
...office in London got wind of the situation, it prompted for the issuing of the Crewe circular in January 1909.

In the circular, Lord Crewe wrote thus:
"It has been brought to my notice that officers in the service of some of the Crown Colonies and Protectorates have in some instances entered into arrangements of concubinage with girls and women belonging to the native population...
...The moral objections to such conduct are so generally recognised that it is unnecessary to dwell on them…[I stress] the grave injury to good administration which must inevitably result…
[Please] warn them of the disgrace and official ruin which will certainly follow from any dereliction of duty in this respect...."

(Enclosure A in Circular of 11 January 1909, Confidential, Downing St.
Some colonial officers scorned the circular and one, K.D.J. Duff, who was the administrator at Kipini, Lamu, even went to the extent of penning a poem mocking the directive.
Shortly after he penned it, Duff committed suicide at Garsen on 3rd July 1919. Earlier the same year in February, Duff missed work for no fewer than three weeks.
Explaining the reasons for his absence, the Tanaland medical officer explained to authorities in Nairobi that the young administrator suffered from syphilis. He had prescribed Mercury and potassium iodide for the sores on the administrator's legs, the medical officer explained.
It wasn't clear whether Duff had acquired the disease locally, or from past colonial escapades. But before he died, Duff had penned an emotional letter to his mother, who immediately set sail for Lamu by steamer, and onward to Kipini by dhow.
Fatefully, she arrived just after Duff's remains had been interred next to the officers' bungalow at Kipini. Distressed and hysterical, she cursed the D.C. Captain Luckman, accusing him of being responsible for the death.
The loss of her son was too much to bear. In yet another twist of fate she suffered a seizure and died as she was being rushed to Lamu by boat.
Thereafter, two ghosts were said to haunt the DC’s house, one of them of C. G. Pitt (a local settler who reportedly suffered cerebral malaria and threw himself in River Tana) and the other of Mrs Duff.
Kipini was subsequently an unpopular station among colonial officers and from the early 1930s a ghost book was kept there.

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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.
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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.
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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 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."
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Sep 2, 2018

After Kinoo, westwards along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway is a place called Karûri. It was named after Agîkûyû chief Karûri wa Gakure, who actually hailed from Kangema in present-day Murang'a county.
Chief Karûri made trading trips from his village, trudging with his caravan along the edge of the Aberdares towards Kikuyu mostly, and at times Kijabe and Naivasha.
Interestingly, Field Marshal Mbaria Kaniu followed the same route from Kangema to lead the #MauMau massacre at Lari.
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