Dedan Kimathi on Trial: Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya's Mau Mau Rebellion

Dedan Kimathi on Trial: Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya's Mau Mau Rebellion

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The transcript from this historic trial, long thought destroyed or hidden, unearths a piece of the British colonial archive at a critical point in the Mau Mau Rebellion. Its discovery and landmark publication unsettles an already contentious Kenyan history and its reverberations in the postcolonial present.

Perhaps no figure embodied the ambiguities, colonial fears, and collective imaginations of Kenya’s decolonization era more than Dedan Kimathi, the self-proclaimed field marshal of the rebel forces that took to the forests to fight colonial rule in the 1950s. Kimathi personified many of the contradictions that the Mau Mau Rebellion represented: rebel statesman, literate peasant, modern traditionalist. His capture and trial in 1956, and subsequent execution, for many marked the end of the rebellion and turned Kimathi into a patriotic martyr.

Here, the entire trial transcript is available for the first time. This critical edition also includes provocative contributions from leading Mau Mau scholars reflecting on the meaning of the rich documents offered here and the figure of Kimathi in a much wider field of historical and contemporary concerns. These include the nature of colonial justice; the moral arguments over rebellion, nationalism, and the end of empire; and the complexities of memory and memorialization in contemporary Kenya.

Contributors: David Anderson, Simon Gikandi, Nicholas Githuku, Lotte Hughes, and John Lonsdale. Introductory note by Willy Mutunga.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780896805019
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Publication date: 11/27/2017
Series: Ohio RIS Global Series , #17
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
File size: 20 MB
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About the Author

Julie MacArthur is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Cartography and the Political Imagination as well as numerous articles. She has also worked extensively in African cinema, both as a curator and an academic.

Table of Contents

Contents Illustrations Introductory Note Foreword Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction: The Trial of Dedan Kimathi Primary Documents Note on Primary Sources Document 1: The Trial of Dedan Kimathi Document 2: Judgment Document 3: Appeal to the Court of Appeals for Eastern Africa Document 4: Appeal to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom Document 5: Interrogation Report of Dedan Kimathi Document 6: Exhibit No. 20—Signed Arrest Statement of the Accused Document 7: Exhibit No. 22—Original Gikuyu Version of Kimathi Letter, 20 October 195465 Document 8: Exhibit No. 22A—Official English Translation of Kimathi Letter,20 October 1954 Document 9: Exhibit No. 23—Kimathi Letter, 30 March 1954 Document 10: Exhibit No. 24—Kimathi Letter, 6 March 1954 Document 11: Exhibit No. 25—Letter from Chief Muhoya to Dedan Kimathi, 2 June 1954 Document 12: Exhibit No. B1—Surrender Leaflet, 24 August 1953 Document 13: Exhibit No. C1—Surrender Leaflet, 24 August 1953 Document 14: Exhibits Nos. D1 and D2—Surrender Leaflet and Safe Conduct Pass, 18 January 1955 Document 15: Final Lett er from Kimathi to Father Marino Photo gallery Critical Essays 1: Mau Mau on Trial 2: Mau Mau’s Debates on Trial 3: The Unfolding of Britain and Kenya’s Complex Tango 4: Dedan Kimathi: The Floating Signifier and the Missing Body 5: Memorialization and Mau Mau Appendix Bibliography Contributors Index

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