African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Independence struggle

What Happened in Olenguruone?

Olenguruone is in Nakuru County, in Kenya’s Rift Valley, at the heart of Gikuyu homeland. In the days of Mau Mau, when the fighters for Kenya’s independence made the neighbouring forest their base for attacks on British settlers, the colonial authorities cleared the region under a forced reseettlement (or “villagisation”) programme, deporting those who resisted to the detention centre at Yatta or to prisons in Nakuru and Nairobi (see also The Day Kenyatta was Arrested). In 2012, in the High Court, survivors of the Uprising won their case for maltreatment against the British government.

The great sadness occurred in Olenguruone.
Children and livestock were weeping in the heavy rain and bitter cold..

The Nationalist Struggle (Tanzania)

A freedom song from Tanzania, celebrating the end of colonial British rule, popular on the verge of Independence in 1961.

Freedom and the Republic!
Colonialism will soon end,

The Nationalist Struggle (Zambia)

Two poems that were popular during the struggles for Independence in Zambia, dating from the days of the arrest of Dr Kaunda and other leaders in 1959 during the anti-Federation struggle.

What kind of singing is this
That sounds like mourning?

From the Kikuyu Hymnbook

A Gikuyu nationalist song from Kenya, from the days of the Independence struggle. These songs were performed in the forest where the fighters would camp, and later a number of the songs were published in what became known as the Kikuyu Hymnbook.

The Battle of Tumu Tumu Hill

A Gikuyu song from Kenya, describing a battle during the Independence struggle in the 1950s. General Kariba’s group in the Kenya Levellation Army fought the British on Tumu Tumu Hill near Kirimukuyu. The heroism of Waruanja who went disguised to spy out the British position, and of Kanjunio, the girl who brought back his report, and of Gakuru who sacrificed his life to destroy the machine guns, are all commemorated.

Listen and hear this story
Of the Tumu Tumu Hill!

African Poems