Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #historykethread

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#HistoryKeThread: Kamba Grooming

As seen in this 1911 photo by Gerhard Lindblom, the Kamba shaved the hair and eyebrows with a razor or sort of knife, called wenzi. The hair was first made wet with water.
Women were always shaved by men. But men shaved each other.
Kambas were fairly meticulous in grooming. Armpit and private parts hair, too, was shaved. At times, they pulled out hair with some kind of tweezers they called ng’ose (or something of the sort).
Read 5 tweets
#HistoryKeThread This first photo of a Gîkûyû elder was taken by William S. Routledge in circa 1903. Note how the dress differs from that of warriors of the community in the following pic, also taken by Routledge.
According to historian and former politician Dr. Mukaru Ng’ang’a, the Agîkûyû from Kîhûmbûini (Murang’a) were among those most notorious for ambushing and attacking European visitors and their caravans.
Read 8 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The 1997 Likoni Clashes
As the general elections of 1997 approached, reports were made to authorities by church officials and politicians that there were plans to wage violence against upcountry communities at the coast.
Large numbers of youths, they warned, had been recruited, and were being armed and trained to terrorize wabara- members of upcountry communities.
Read 20 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Abagusii Resistance
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Abagusii learnt of a vision by their prophet Eliamwamu, who was also called Sakawa of Nyakoe.
According to Mzee Ombese Nyakyoga, a Gusii elder interviewed in 1971, when Sakawa was about to die, he told his community that there would be visitors to their country who would “stay for some time, and then they will go”.
Read 50 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Lukenya Getaway
On the night of 16th/17th September 1954, the Mau Mau staged an attack on Lukenya Prison, which was to the south of Athi River Detention Camp.
The prison was a sitting duck for various reasons.
Read 10 tweets

At the dawn of Kenya’s independence, Home Affairs Minister Oginga Odinga deported Ian Henderson.
This was in 1964.
Henderson, who spoke fluent Gîkûyû, was a white CID police officer in the colonial administration. He was famous for leading the team of native police officers and informers who tracked, and finally captured, Mau Mau leader Dedan Kimathi Waciuri.
Read 16 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Fall Of The EAC In 1977
"The East African Community is as dead as a dodo", Kenya's Minister for Power and Communications, Isaac Omolo Okero, informed Parliament.
This was in June of 1977.
Read 49 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: KDF’s Deceptive Tactics In Somalia
At the height of Operation Linda Nchi, Kenya’s war against Al Shabaab militants in Somalia, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) laid down plans for the capture of the Afmadhow.

This was a town in Somalia that served as a major stronghold of the militant group.
KDF would lead the allied attack, backed by friendly forces from Somalia, such as the Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a (ASWJ) and Jubbaland troops led by Sheikh Madobe.
Read 21 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: A 1907 photo by pioneer administrator, Charles W. Hobley (communities in western Kenya called him ‘Obili’), of a Wanga woman.
The Wanga and other Luhya sub-communities took part in great rejoicing when children were born.

And when twins were born, it was considered a double blessing.
The whole village, both men and women, assembled “on the fifth or sixth day” after birth outside the lucky mother’s hut.
Read 16 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: At one time in our history, a firebrand politician bestrode the politics of a part of Kenya like a colossus.

Some called him Mashamba.
No, not the one you may be thinking of.
In the Kamba language, his fellow Kamba called him Munyambu wa Kenya, the literal translation of which is “the lion of Kenya”.
Read 27 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Two years into his presidency, in June of 1991, apartheid South Africa’s President Frederik de Klerk visited Kenya. The visit was part of a charm offensive tour to a number of African countries. Image
Kenya was the 10th African country de Klerk visited as President.
De Klerk’s visit was taking place against the backdrop of a number of events:
Read 17 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Kenya’s Flu Pandemic of 1918

As the end of World War 1 approached, about a quarter of the world’s population, estimated at about 500 million, caught a debilitating bout of a flu-like disease.
This was the Spanish flu of 1918.

Between 20million and 100million people succumbed to it in the years from 1918 to 1919.

In Africa, East Africa was one of the continent’s deadliest hotspots of the pandemic.
But let’s first familiarize ourselves with the situation that existed in Kenya - or British East Africa, as the territory was then known.
Read 27 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Titbits On The Nandi Image
What is the origin of the word “rungu”? Is the word used to refer to a club part of the Kiswahili lexicon?

I don’t know the answer to this.
But among the Kalenjin, the traditional club was in the 19th century known as a “rungut”.
Read 14 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The Lunatic Express
Why was the Uganda Railway referred to as the Lunatic Express?

A British politician opposed to its construction was the first person to coin the word.
His name was Henry Labouchère. He joined a chorus of critics who felt that the railway line was being constructed for no meaningful reason than to merely demonstrate British engineering and might.
Read 15 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: The First State Funeral
At first light on 22nd August 1978, the Kenya Air Force flew into Nairobi the remains of Kenya’s first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Mzee Kenyatta has died in the wee hours of that morning.
Read 26 tweets
#HistoryKeThread: Kisumu - The Early Years

This is a 1936 photo taken from the air of Kisumu Airport. It is the Kisumu International Airport we know of today.
There was one factor that led to the rise of Kisumu as a major business and administrative centre. It was the fact that it was the lakeside port at which engineers had identified the railhead of the first phase of the Uganda Railway would reach.
In the period immediately before the arrival of the railway, Kisumu was known as Port Florence.
Read 23 tweets
#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: On The Hunt For Hunters

From memoirs of a British ivory trader, Alfred Ariel Hardwick, we learn more about the M’thara, Chuka and Kianjai clans of the wider Ameru community. Image
We also learn that there may have been wars between the Embu and Meru clans.

The setting is late 1899.
In that year, Hardwick and his fellow English friend George Henry Best set off for Kenya from Cairo, dreaming of landing jobs in Port Florence (Kisumu today), specifically as ship launch builders or harbour works engineers.
Read 83 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

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