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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Myths of Mau Mau expanded: rehabilitation in Kenya's detention camps, 1954-60
Author:Baggallay, A.R.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Kenya
concentration camps
Mau Mau
colonial policy
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17531055.2011.611677
Abstract:In response to the Mau Mau rebellion that gripped Kenya in the 1950s, the British colonial government created a network of detention camps across the country that imprisoned a significant proportion of the native population. To justify and legitimize such widespread incarceration, the Nairobi government introduced a much-publicized rehabilitation programme in an attempt to transform Kikuyu inmates into loyal and productive citizens upon release. However, the conditions in the camps were not conducive to a programme that sought to educate and transform its participants into supporters of British rule. Using a range of primary sources, including previously unseen archival evidence, this paper contributes to the relatively sparse historiography on Kenya's detention camps. In particular, it explores the divergence between the intended rehabilitation programme and the conservatism and brutality of its implementation. Whilst the colonial government lauded its achievements and impressive release rates, this paper argues that rehabilitation transformed into a programme that repressed the Kikuyu population that it was meant to be reforming and only served to speed the process towards independence. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]