The incomplete rebellion: Mau mau movement in twenty-first-century kenyan popular culture

Evan Mwangi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This paper concerns the simultaneous and contradictory conceptions of Kenyan history by rereading popular representations of the Mau Mau war of Kenyan independence and its postindependence consequences. It examines twenty-firstcentury evocations and appropriations of Mau Mau in relation to earlier discourses in literature and politics. It discovers that contemporary artists and citizens deploy references to Mau Mau outside of its historical context to address, in highly emotive language, contemporary problems in Kenya, such as runaway corruption and police brutality. It reads emergent artists and writers against the background of more dominant and canonical work to demonstrate the evolution of popular memory and the need to consider everyday, marginal, and liminal texts in a postcolonial context where the perspectives of ordinary people are excluded from official archives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-113
Number of pages27
JournalAfrica Today
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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