Kiambu, 1952

The Drums


Iron Dust

It is easy enough for anyone who knows my people to understand that it was a spontaneous decision that they should be bound together in unity by a simple oath. From what I have eard this oath began in the Kikuyu districts, starting in Kiambu. There was no central irection or control. The oath was not sophisticated or elaborate and initially was wholly unobjectionable. It started slowly, indeed regretfully, and was an oath of unity and brotherhood in the struggle for our land and our independence. Although the situation was dangerous, even in October 1952, it was not so dangerous that it could not have been put right by a few political concessions (which would today, ten years later, seem trivial) and a little under- standing. The movement could always have been extinguished in this way but the Government chose to answer it with a series of the harshest and most brutal measures ever taken against a native people in the British Empire in the twentieth century, and so the movement developed by action and re-action into a full- scale rebellion involving the soul of my people.

Josiah Mwangi Kariuki
'Mau Mau' Detainee
1962