Children and the Mau Mau: a case study of Kikuyu Division of Kiambu District, 1952-1960
This study was about the role and the impact of the Mau Mau movement on children, 1952-1960. The study aimed to test three hypotheses namely, various factors influenced children participation in the Mau Mau movement; that children played role in the Mau Mau and that the Mau Mau had significant impact on children. The study utilized both primary and secondary data. Secondary data was obtained from books, articles in journals and internet sources. Secondary data was followed by the archival data collection, which was hoped to fill the gaps identified. Gaps noted from the archives were filled through oral interviews. Oral interviews were conducted using an open ended questionnaire. Data was captured by use of note taking. Data collected was analyzed and presented qualitatively through narratives and discussions. The study found out that like men and women, children played a significant role in the Mall Mau movement. After the administration of the oath, children served as combatants, suppliers of foodstuffs, guns and ammunition, writing materials, tobacco and other necessities to designated places for the fighters. Children spied, scouted and undertook the various domestic duties both in the forests and African Reserves. Only a small number of children joined the Mau Mau forest wing; majority operated within and around African Reserves. The study has demonstrated that children participation in the Mau Mau movement was influenced by various factors: peer and parental influence, lack of basic necessities and inability to access education opportunities, harassment by colonial security personnel and the rigidity of the missionaries on female circumcision. The study established that as a result of their involvement in the MauMau, children were affected largely negatively. They lacked basic needs, education, parental care especially following the killing, detention, imprisonment or as many parents run away from harassment by the security forces. Moreover, children were severely beaten, detained and even killed. Similarly, children were forced to provide communal labour and sexual relations, which carried long term bitterness, a confirmation of the set objectives and hypothesis. Children formed an important strand of the complex Mau Mau movement. Without their involvement, Mau Mau in my view may have militarily been defeated earlier that it did.