A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SCIENCES IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE CONFERMENT OF THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF ARTS IN HISTORY, KARATINA UNIVERSITY.
WAITHANWA, LUCY WAIRIMU
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Gakaara wa Wanjau was referred to as the “Chief Mau Mau Propagandist” by the colonial government because of his revolutionary literary works. This made him to be one of the longest serving Mau Mau detainees from 1952-1959. Despite his activist works that culminated in his long detention, Gakaara wa Wanjau was neither rewarded nor recognised among the most honoured independence heroes by the post-colonial regimes. He was arrested and accused of involvement with Mwakenya (The Union of Patriots for the Liberation of Kenya) activities during president Moi’s era. The purpose of this study was to examine Gakaara wa Wanjau’s literary contribution to the politics of freedom struggle in both colonial and post-colonial Kenya. The objectives of the study were to: (i) trace Gakaara wa Wanjau’s socio-political experiences during the colonial period that influenced his political consciousness; (ii) examine the influence of his political writings to the Mau Mau nationalist movement and, (iii) finally explore Gakaara’s socio-political activities after detention that influenced his relationship with the post-colonial governments. The study was informed by the Relative Deprivation Theory (RDT) which argues that people take action for social change in order to gain their rights. The study adopted historical research design which employs document analysis and validated with oral interviews from respondents. The sample population comprised thirty informants who are reasonably enough in a biographical research. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to select respondents drawn from Gakaara wa Wanjau’s acquaintances in the struggle for independence. The study used open-ended questionnaires research instrument to generate qualitative data. The study contributes towards enriching the Kenya’s Mau Mau historiography by demonstrating that there were other forms of effective struggle for independence, like literary activism whereby the barrel of the pen was used, apart from fighting in the forest.