|dc.description.abstract||Mau Mau was a nationalist movement which spread
in Central and Rift Valley areas of Kenya between 1948
and 1956. The aim of the movement was to fight against
colonialism. The movement had a strong religious factor
which was expressed in various beliefs and practices,
including songs, prayers and oaths. This study addresses
itself to this religious factor, with special reference
to Mau Mau oaths. The oaths were used in the movement
so as to initiate members as well as to strengthen their
commitment to the liberation struggle.
The organization and format of the study is quite
simple due to the nature of the work covered. In the
first chapter, some views on the Mau Mau movement are
analyzed. Most of the material in this chapter is collected from written work. Three views are looked at.
First is the view that Mau Mau was a religion; second
is the view that Mau Mau was more of a nationalist movement; and finally is the view that Mau Mau was a syncretist
movement. Each of the views is discussed here in the
way that it relates to the religious factor in the Mau
Mau movement. Chapter .one ends with an assertion that
there was a religious factor in the movement, a factor
whose nature and significance has not been thoroughly
investigated. After the first chapter, the study narrows
down to the question of Mau Mau oaths.
Chapter 'two looks at three somewhat isolated issues
of the movement and each of them is shown to be connected
to Mau Mau oaths. The first part deals with the possible
origins of the name 'Mau Mau• The second part deals
with the initial target or aim of the movement and the
third part looks at the religious factor in Mau Mau
Chapter three explores the nature and religious
significance of traditional Kikuyu oaths and curses.
The ceremonies are described and some examples given
where possible. This chapter gives the basic background
information which is useful in a study of Mau Mau oaths.
An attempt is made to show the link between the traditional 0aths and curses on the one hand and the Mau Mau
oaths on the other.
Chapter four surveys the two main oaths used by
the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA). The first oath
is seen to have been syncretistic. The second oath is
seen to have been of a similar nature to traditional
Kikuyu oaths. The relationship between the second KCA
oath and the first Mau Mau oath is here examined.
Chapters five and six concentrate on the two main
Mau Mau oaths, the oath of unity and the oath of war.
In these two chapters, great emphasis is laid on the
description of the nature of each oath. An analysis of
the symbols and rituals in each ceremony is attempted.
The ways in which these two oaths differed from traditional oaths are also explained.
The concluding chapter analyzes the relationship
between the nature of Mau Mau oaths. KCA oaths and
traditional Kikuyu oaths. The effects of Mau Mau oaths
on the movement are also explained. And finally, the
questions raised at the start of the study are here
looked at in line with the conclusions which have been
reached at the end of each chapter.
The study ends with an appendix in which some of
the Mau Mau songs quoted in this study are written in
full. Both the Kikuyu version of the songs (as sung by
informants) and the English translations (by the writer)