Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #HistoryKeThread

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#HistoryKeThread: Charles Dundas’ 1915 Notes On Luhya Superstitions
Charles Dundas was among the earliest British administrators in Ukambani and Luhyaland.

He noted down some superstitions of various sub tribes of the Abaluhya community from western Kenya.
These were published in the journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland in circa 1915.
Read 16 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Kavirondo Of The 1890s

This is an undated photo of a Kavirondo/Luo “medicineman” (foreground).
According to 1898 recordings of early colonial administrator Charles William Hobley - the man Luos called Obili, a medicineman was usually summoned to bless the future of a newborn Luo child.
Six days after a boy was born, he wrote on, the mother took the newborn to a spot along a path not far from the homestead and left it there.
Read 16 tweets
#HistoryKeThread Preparing For The Iron Snake
Captain Macdonald (pictured) was a Scottish engineer in charge of the survey for the Uganda Railway. He was also a soldier of the British army in India, the country of his birth.
Perhaps London chose him to lead the survey team, which kicked off its work in December of 1891, because he hailed from a malaria-infested colony.

Read 39 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: A Glimpse At Early Nairobi
In the 1900s, the train service between Nairobi and Mombasa ran twice monthly.
With each arrival in Nairobi, the train brought many white land speculators. At the time, downtown Nairobi was a little more than a mabati-roofed shanty town.
Read 53 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Once Upon Wanjohi
“....while I could easily pick out a hundred Kikuyu who, mixed with an equal number of Maasai, could not be told from the latter, even by an expert....”, so, wrote John Boyes in his book, The King Of The Wakikuyu.
A native of Yorkshire in England, Boyes was an adventurer and trader who lived among the Agîkûyû community from 1898.
Read 51 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Mau Mau Mass Surrender That Never Was
Weeks after the declaration of emergency in October of 1952, the colonial government faced widespread condemnation from British settlers in Kenya.
The settlers railed at the government for what they termed its “weak” approach in tackling the Mau Mau menace.

Keen to appease the settler community, authorities in Nairobi reached out to London and asked for support from the Royal Air Force.
Read 44 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: A Time To Prey
When the year begun in January of 1941, there was much destruction, death and scarcity about Europe. The chilly winter weather offered little, if any, solace. And it snowed with as much rage as the bombs raining down from the skies.
Thousands of miles away, in the sunny, idyllic settler paradise that was Kenya, virtually the entire lot of Europeans was constantly tuned to transistor radios.
Read 82 tweets
#HistoryKeThread Woman-To-Woman Marriage Among the Kipsigis
In the bygone years, the Kipsigis community, like the Kamba, engaged in a form of marriage in which a woman, often a childless widow, married another woman.
The Kipsigis referred to this arrangement as “ketunchi toloch”, the literal translation of which phrase is “one marries for support”.
Read 7 tweets
#HistoryKeThread Moi’s 1978 Washington Visit
In March of 1978, Vice President Daniel arap Moi led a strong Kenyan delegation to Washington. The delegation was hosted by U.S president Jimmy Carter.
This was at a time when Ethiopia and Somalia militaries were sparring over the Ogaden. In those days, Kenya had a military pact with Ethiopia.
Read 11 tweets
#HistoryKeThread Events That Accelerated Kenya’s Independence
Towards the late 1950s, and in spite of scores of Mau Mau and a few of their prominent leaders being killed or captured, there were still pockets of armed resistance against colonial rule in Kenya.
In demands by both international civil rights groups and moderate politicians in the United Kingdom for independence to be granted immediately, the Mau Mau found inspiration.
Read 49 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Man Who Refused To Die

In February of 1987, Kenya’s Environment Minister, Jeremiah Nyaga, was visiting Scandinavia.
Addressing officials, he said: “It is better for Koigi (pictured) to be incarcerated in a Kenyan prison than for him to face an uncertain future in Norway...”
A few weeks back, dissident Koigi Wamwere had fled to Norway, having sneaked out of Kenya via Busia border point.
Read 68 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Who were the Segeju?

The present-day Segeju live in the coastal strip, between Tanga and the Kenya-Tanzania border.
From findings of various researchers including pioneer missionary Ludwig Krapf, Ali bin Hemedi el-Buhury and E.C. Baker, who authored a publication called Notes On The History Of The Wasegeju, we learn a great deal about this community.
The Segeju speak varieties of both the local Swahili dialect and Digo.
Read 19 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Indian Ocean Battles
— — — — — -
A man who was loathful of the Portuguese and their incursions into the East Coast of Africa, Ali Bey was a Turkish admiral. In 1585, he arrived in Mogadishu in a fleet of several ships.
He touted himself as one who had been sent by the Emperor of Turkey to rid the predominantly Muslim area of Portuguese influence.
Many of the towns in the northern coast of East Africa, such as Mogadishu, Brava, Pate, Faza and Lamu laid down the red carpet for him.
Read 42 tweets

In this 1982 pic, Kenyan athletes to the Commonwealth Games mingle with the burly frame of Culture & Social Services Minister Stanley Oloitiptip in Brisbane, Australia. Among them is one of Kenya’s most celebrated middle distance runners, Rose Tata Muya (left).
Way before mathematics professor the late Prof. George Saitoti surfaced on the Kajiado political scene, two colossi dominated politics in that county in post-independence Kenya.
They were the late Oloitiptip, who, according to some sources, was wont to feast on a whole goat by himself, and the late John Keen.
Read 33 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Wakamba Nation, Rites, Origins of Names

Several times previously, we have referred to names of towns or neighbourhoods e.g. Kajiado, Ruaraka, Msongari and even the country we call Kenya, that were coined from indigenous names that Europeans couldn’t pronounce.
Machakos, too, is such. It was a British mispronunciation of the name “Masaku wa Musya.“
Masaku, was what the Kamba referred to as a mûthani or seer. He was famous for his ability to predict rainfall. He lived near the site of what became the earliest major British administrative center in upcountry Kenya: Fort Machakos.
Read 45 tweets
#HistoryKeThread Strong In the Wind: The Life Of Beryl Markham
In the early 1900s, authorities in Great Britain and estate agents went overboard in their promotion to British citizenry of the prospects of settling and taking up vast fertile farmlands in one of their latest British Empire trophies: British East Africa.
Some of those who were caught by the settler bug were well-off members of the bourgeoisie. Others, finding life to be a bit hard in Britain, decided to chance onto the opportunity in the hope that they would make it big in “the dark continent”.
Read 72 tweets
#HistoryKeThread Are The Okiek By Another Name The Dorobo?

A traditional hut of the Mau Okiek.
Among Kenya’s smaller ethnic groups are the Okiek, a community that lived by hunting game, gathering and trading honey, and whose language goes by the same name.
They are arguably our most famous hunter-gatherer community. They live or lived in recluse, and at the dawn of the 20th century, were found in settlements in different parts of the country.
Read 17 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Samuel Muindi Mbingu Wasn’t A Road

Towards the end of 1937, the Ukamba Members Association (UMA) was formed to fight for land rights of the Akamba.
Its founders, who included Samuel Muindi Mbingu, Elijah Kavula, Isaac Mwalonzi and Simon Kioko, hailed from Ngelani, Mitaboni and Matungulu areas of greater Ukambani. They had received local education and served as civil servants in the colonial government.
Early in 1938, the Kikuyu Central Association introduced their Asian lawyer, Madan, to UMA so he could help present the Akamba's land grievances to the colonial authorities.
Read 9 tweets
#HistoryKeThread In Mzee Kenyatta’s sunset days, there was a daring cabal of powerful individuals who were determined to stop his Vice President Moi from taking over the reins of leadership.
Indeed, these vey leaders in September of 1976 played host to a large anti-Moi political rally in Nakuru. During the rally, speaker after speaker called for the Constitution to be changed.
They wanted provisions that made it possible for the Vice President to automatically take over the presidency repealed.

Of course, the focus was on Moi. The Change-The-Constitution movement was scheming to scuttle Moi’s automatic succession.
Read 13 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: In 1923, Capt. R.L. Stanley wrote the following about the Kavirondo (Luo):
“The Wa-Kavirondo with its many branches is a populous tribe and inhabited a large territory roughly to the north and south of the Kavirondo Gulf inthe Victoria Nyanza, the area to the north extending to the slopes of Mount Elgon and to the south to what was the German border.
The tribe is remarkable for the fact that men and women do not wear clothing; adopting the nude totally, except in centres like Kisumu where the merest apology for dress is adopted in the form of a loincloth made from americani (cotton cloth).
Read 15 tweets
#HistoryKeThread After Britain and Oman had signed the Moresby Treaty in 1822, two British ships under the command of Captain William Fitzwilliam Wentworth Owen were dispatched to the Indian Ocean to survey the East African coast and Arabia.
The captain's mandate was to monitor and stamp out any slave trade activity in the region. Owen was a man so fervently committed to the cause of ridding the world of slavery that he sailed to Muscat on his ship, HMS Leven, to harangue Seyyid Said about the horrors of slave trade.
The other ship under his command, HMS Barracouda, paid a visit to Mombasa to stock up on supplies. The Barracouda sailed into Mombasa harbour on December 4th 1823.
Read 25 tweets
#HistoryKeTrivia #HistoryKeThread Many of you will know that the East African Standard is Kenya’s oldest newspaper, having been founded in 1902.
In those early 20th century years, there were also less known but fairly well acclaimed weeklies. We can tell you of two, both of which were interestingly founded not by Britons but Americans.
Globetrotter was one of them. Its founder and editor was one David Garrick Longworth.
Read 7 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Then British Governor of British East Africa, Col. Sir James Hayes Sadler (2nd right), rides the train from Mombasa with his guest, Sir Winston Churchill (r), then Secretary of the Colonies, in 1907.
Sir Churchill, 33, had just begun his tour of East Africa.
The visit was a morale booster somewhat for Sadler, who months back had faced calls from right wing settlers to resign from office.
Read 10 tweets
#HistoryKeThread When Vasco da Gama Came Calling
Just around early March in 1498, Portuguese sailors led by Vasco da Gama sailed north from the Cape of Good Hope.

It is recorded by Portuguese historians that as they did so, they bullied any boats they came across, something that blotted the visitors’ image to locals.
Indeed, word of the Portuguese bad manners spread across the East African coast. In fact, by the time the Portuguese landed in Mombasa on Saturday 7th April 1498, they were considered hostile visitors.
Read 15 tweets

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