Teaching History through Fiction: The Mau Mau Narrative in Contemporary Kenyan Children’s Literature

Dr. Muriungi, C. K


My article examines how the Mau Mau discourse has recently found its way into Kenya’s children’s literature. The paper is based on the biography of Dedan Kimathi who was a famous leader of the Mau Mau liberation struggle in Kenya. Kimathi’s biography is one among many other biographies on hero figures that are currently under publication in Kenya for young readers. The main argument of the paper is that contemporary Kenyan children’s literature is an avenue through which Kenya’s history of liberation from colonial rule is being reconstructed. I assert that a biography like Kimathi’s helps children to understand the cause and course of the Mau Mau insurgence in Kenya. The importance of this text therefore rests in its role in teaching children the Mau Mau history. Consequently, such a text helps to rehabilitate the Mau Mau memory.

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