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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kikuyu Women and the Harry Thuku Disturbances: Some Uniformities of Female Militancy
Author:Wipper, Audrey
Year:1989
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:59
Issue:3
Pages:300-337
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Kikuyu
rebellions
1922
women
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
nationalism
Labor and Employment
Ethnic and Race Relations
Cultural Roles
Historical/Biographical
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160230
Abstract:This article focuses on the collective activity of African women in the Harry Thuku 'Riot' in Kenya, 1922, which involved mass demonstrations, a clash with the authorities, and the loss of lives. Harry Thuku, a Kikuyu from Kiambu District, was one of the founders in 1921 of the Young Kikuyu Association. He was exceptional in several ways: not only did he spearhead early Kikuyu protest against colonial authority but he was Kenya's first African politician to take the exploitation of women and children seriously and to articulate their grievances to an international audience. The author examines what the Kikuyu women did in 1922, and how and why they did it. She then compares this example of militancy with women's activities in the Women's War in Nigeria, 1929, and the Anlu Uprising in the British Cameroons, 1958-1959. Despite their formal subordination to men, in these incidents women challenged not only male but also colonial authority, sometimes successfully. This is not to imply that women wielded power or authority equal to that of men, but to show that, given certain conditions, institutions and traditions, women did achieve a strong political voice. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.
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