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Colonial Rule and African Resistance in Kenya - Essay Example

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The setting of the novel Weep Not, Child was during the Mau Mau revolt when African resistance against British colonial rule was at its peak. In fact, the main conflict of the novel was on the resentment of the African population towards British rule over their lands…
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Colonial Rule and African Resistance in Kenya
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Download file to see previous pages This is evident in the utterances of Ngotho as he despaired, "Later, our fathers were taken captives in the first Big War to help in a war whose cause they never knew. And when they came back Their land was taken away for a settlement of the white soldiers." This is true as the Black population was involved in the First World War, a conflict waged by European powers for geopolitical and economic dominance. It was not their war, but they became unwilling pawns in the struggle, only to become captives. Upon their release and return, they found their lands sequestered by the White government, allocating their ancestral land which they have possessed for countless generations, as garrisons for soldiers, settlements for foreign immigrants and plantations for white settlers.
With Britain's rule came changes from without as the government imposes its values, laws, culture, and language upon the indigenous people. They were forced to learn English, this being claimed to be good in contrast to their native tongue which is presented by their rulers as being bad. This form of negative reinforcement and encroachment upon native culture and traditions also increased the resentment held by Africans against their colonial masters. The policies of British rule threatens the very foundation of Kenyan existence, as their language, culture, traditions, and laws are being forcefully replaced by foreign ones. The political conflict is also given emphasis by the novel as the power of Kenya's White rulers grew and the bitterness of the African population correspondingly increased.
Aside from the resentment felt by Africans against their white masters, there is also conflict between the former and the Indian merchants whom they look down upon with contempt. Considered as opportunists who thrive at the expense of the African, the Indians are also abhorred by the Black population. "He came to the Indian shops. Years ago, he had worked here. That was long before the Second War. He had worked for an Indian who had always owed him a month's pay. This was deliberate. It was meant to be a compelling device to keep Ngotho in the Indian's employment permanently." (Ngugi, Chapter 3).There was also class struggle among Blacks, as those who were able to attain wealth also yearned for more political power and at the same time exploited the lower classes. The Mau Mau revolt was primarily anti-colonial, but it also bore a semblance of civil war because it also went against the Black associates of the white planters.
The novel also explicitly pictures the desire of both Blacks, Whites and Indians for power and their resolve to hold on to it once they have gained it. Power and wealth were the common objectives of all those engaged in the conflict. However, the attainment of wealth and riches is paid with a heavy price, by those who remain in poverty and are continually exploited by those who have the means, influence and resolution to subjugate them. They have become enslaved in their own native land, subject to the oppression and tyranny of foreigners, may they be White or Indian. They have been reduced by powerful forces from without, which were beyond their control and sometimes, even comprehension.
However, the oppression is continually imposed by the British government through physical subjugation. Armed conflict eventually resulted, led by the Mau Mau movement. It is within this whirlwind of strife and violence that Njoroge and his family find themselves, having to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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