Mau Mau: The Divisive Heritage of Liberation Struggle in Kenya

Hughes, Lotte (2017). Mau Mau: The Divisive Heritage of Liberation Struggle in Kenya. In: Walters, Diana; Laven, Daniel and Davis, Peter eds. Heritage and Peacebuilding. Heritage Matters. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, pp. 179–190.


The chapter discusses the contested legacy of the Mau Mau conflict in Kenya in the 1950s, a struggle which preceded independence, and the uses of memory and memorialisation of Mau Mau in contemporary Kenya. It discusses whether the memorialization of Mau Mau, and the idea that it is central to a metanarrative of nationhood, has the potential to be unifying. Also, whether this can usefully be harnessed in Mau Mau-focused heritage initiatives in modernday Kenya. It concludes in part that the 'Mau Mau story' is too exclusive for this purpose, since it ignores or excludes countless other Kenyans who were neither on one side or the other during the conflict, or were ostensibly on the opposite side.

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