Rows of corn and potato stalks extend beyond sight;
Amidst young kales, thick spinach increase with green.
The hour is both long and bright;
Among Peasant sense of hard work is keen.
Raised paths and narrow tracks interlink myriads of villages;
Rows of uniform trees for borders make the best hedges.
Far and nigh, A thousand billows springs up from a thousand homesteads.
Low or high, rowdy laughters spread; it’s the dusk mead.
A heard of fat domestic mostly offer the best debates;
At leisure gallant farmers drink up till late.
The sky scraping ridge and the turbid river converge at the bridge,
Past the aged hill, a small town comes to view; I am come home anew.



Commander Mwana wa Muka dared defy formidable foes
Million arrows when ordered shot forth from eager bows.
The invaders were gathered like a forest of trees at Mukuyuni military base;
All over Iveti region ominous wind spread all over the place.
The aggressor’s incursion had disastrous repercussions
A simple stroke of the General’s right, and the foe encountered annihilation.


62 years ago, a revolutionary force awoke myriads of assaulted spirits:
Bildad Kaggia dared to defy colonial agents in power high.
All voices mute, a lone whisper cared to stir with unequaled wits,
Now a typhoon of violence swept the world under; new heroes arose to vie.
When young he had talent to serve the state,
Long dead although, we still sing sweet tunes for his sake.


One last gaze over our shoulders, and we part ways.
From this hour onwards we are become bitter foes;
Oh! We’ll miss sentiments exchanged in heat of vernal days.
Mutual shame and guilt prompts to let go
It is the regret of our young lives!
Turning to myself, all I can do is but grief.


THE BATTLE OF IVETI (august 1898)
To our regret, her ambition was not fulfilled
Loyal although she was, she fell in to disgrace.
General Syonguu was perfectly in the art of war skilled
But in the battle of Iveti the partisan army succumb to the foe’s crushing force.
Why should the capture and surrender of Generals:
Mwana wa Muka and Nzibu Mweu dampen the heroine’s resolve?
Brave as she was, she could not the savage colonialist to the West drive.


The turbid twin Rivers sob in streams
In rows, misty waters flow where gorges are dim.
What is this place where foggy dews on broken skulls teem?
From bombs and grenades the frontier town
Still lie in ruin since the legendary earthshaking revolution.
I still remember General Kalasinga’s jungle battle gown
So handsome with dread lock tumbling down his shoulder blade at every motion.
With gun in hand and a swords loftily spread,
How marvelously perfect put he the foe’s devices to shame!
In years gone by, Kalasinga, at our arm’s head,
Won early admiration among his peers, war of liberation when was at its bitter prime;
Few nationalists can match up to his immortal fame.
A role model for all patriotic ages, years on, patriots still draw inspiration from his awed name.



, , , ,


Smoke from a thousand homesteads rise to meet the infinite sky

Beyond the dim horizon a lone owl cry

But where are the heroes of bygone years buried?

The swift rivers flow east way to unite with the deep, deep ocean,

Past the green hills, the great plain is glamorous with pink and red;

The sight of the old battle fields still thrill my heart with sad, sad emotions.


Rhetoric and Imperial Decline: Arguing the Hola Camp Massacre of 1959

Originally posted on Imperial & Global Forum:

Richard Toye
Follow on Twitter @RichardToye


A mass grave in Hola is marked with a tombstone inscribed: “In loving memory of the 11 Mau Mau detainees massacred at Hola in 1959.” Their names are Kabui Kaman, Ndungu Kibaki, Mwema Kinuthia, Kinyanjui Njoroge, Koroma Mburu, Karanja Munuthi, Ikeno Ikiro, Migwi Ndegwa, Kaman Karanja, Mungai Githi and Ngugi Karitie.

On 3 March 1959, eleven Mau Mau detainees were beaten to death by their British guards amid an attempt to force the prisoners to undertake manual labour. What is now known as the Hola Camp Massacre has widely been seen as a seminal moment, one that undermined the legitimacy of the British Empire. In a celebrated Commons speech on the affair, Enoch Powell declared that it was not possible to have ‘African standards in Africa, Asian standards in Asia and perhaps British standards here at home […] We cannot, we dare not, in…

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