The Mau Mau Rebellion, Kikuyu Women, and Social Change

TitleThe Mau Mau Rebellion, Kikuyu Women, and Social Change
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsPresley, Cora Ann
JournalCanadian Journal of African Studies
Date Published01/1988

The historical literature on the Mau Mau revolt and Kenyan nationalism are notably lacking in both the affirmation of female participation and information about this participation. Representing revolt as a struggle between African and European men, the literature ignores the initiative of women and their concern for change, concealing the harmful effects of colonialism on women, changes in their status and protests against economic and cultural changes. In addition, ignoring female political activism obscures the process that expanded political participation to allow the inclusion of female politicians in modern Kenya. This article critiques current studies on Kikuyu nationalism, revealing the hidden but powerful force of independent and parallel female nationalism. It examines the importance of the role of women in militant nationalism and suggests that these activities have given rise to a struggle for female leadership in post–Mau Mau Kenya.

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