Kenya’s Struggle & Liberation from British Imperialism

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This paper’s central theme intends to address the African country of Kenya’s struggle and liberation from British imperialism. The first section will explore Kenya’s pre-colonial context to give a brief background of the country’s social and economic structure before colonialism. The second section will address the historical context and direct impacts of British colonialism. The third section will explore the social grievances, marginalization, and violence the country suffered to overcome British imperialism and to ultimately reach Uhru. The readings of Thionog’o, Schraeder, Rodeny, Anderson, and Fanon will be deeply discussed throughout this paper.

Section I: Kenya’s Pre-Colonial Context
Before Europe terrorized the country with the slave trade and colonization most of Kenya consisted of agricultural economies. Communities practiced pastoralist forms of production, a mixture of crop cultivation, livestock keeping, and hunting & gathering. Production was primarily for collective subsistence rather than individual accumulation. The kinship system was the basis of ownership and factors of production which included land, livestock and labor. Labor was largely cooperative within the family and the larger kin group. It was also manual. Surplus was quantitatively small and imposed limitations on trade. Regional and long-distance trade involved prestige goods and influenced society only minimally. The rewards of labor were mostly redistributed in kind and according to need. There existed little differences in wealth possession. Class systems were in its early developing stages. Reciprocity and the egalitarian ideal ensured that individuals never slid into abject poverty.

There was very little motivation for large-scale state formation. Instead the largest political unit was the collectivity of a few families related by blood. Communities were highly acephalous or segmented. Centralized kingdoms were mainly found to the west of Lake Victoria. The ethnic



Bibliography: African & Asian African Resistance to the British. Article. Global Literacy Project. 12 Oct 11 D. Anderson, Struggles in the City. F. Fanon, Concerning Violence, 35. P. Nedge, Colonialism and its Legacies in Kenya (Moi University: 2009) 11 N. Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat (Modern Classics: 2002) 53 P. Schraeder, African Politics & Society: A Mosaic Transformation (Thomson: 2004) 50 W. Rodney, Africa’s Contribution to the Capitalist Development of Europe: the colonial period (17 U.S. Code)

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