The Freedom Fighters

It is better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees. – Emiliano Zapata (Mexican Revolution, 1910).

The Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA) was an organized army that fought against the British colonialists from 1948 -1958. They were the military arm of what had began as a diplomatic arm in the 1930s under various political organizations.

Official figures show that more than 15,000 Kenyans lost their lives in the war, between 1952 and 1960. It is estimated that the State of Emergency cost the British Government about 700M Pounds by today’s estimates.

The war entailed:

  • Villagisation (Reserves)
  • Mass Detention
  • A Special Kikuyu Tax
  • Random Bombings from Military Planes
  • 23 Hour Curfews
  • Collective Fines
  • Confiscation of Land
  • Propaganda
  • Torture

 

1090 Freedom Fighters were executed by hanging. During Operation Anvil (April/ May 1954) 24,100 Kikuyu males, half of the Kikuyu population in the city were imprisoned without trial. To read more about this, see  “The Killing Fields of Kenya 1952 – 1960: British Military Operations Against the Mau Mau” by Anthony Clayton
For further reading on the hierarchical order and organization of the army, see: “Kenya’s Freedom Struggle: The Dedan Kimathi Papers” by Prof. Maina wa Kinyatti

Below are a few of the faces and some of the details of their story.

Gladys Wahito Kanyingi

Gladys Wahito Kanyingi

General Gategwa, Women
Njaza Nduvau Mukundi

Njaza Nduvau Mukundi

Detained/ Arrested, Kangubiri Detention Camp, Kimathi, Men, Nyandarua Forest
Gachihi Gathogo

Gachihi Gathogo

Kimathi, Major, Men, Ndung'u Battalion, Nyandarua Forest
Murage Theuri

Murage Theuri

Colonel Mathenge wa Murugi, General Mathenge, Kariane, Men, Othaya
Ngatia wa Mûnûhe

Ngatia wa Mûnûhe

Men
Mathenge Kibui Gathuri

Mathenge Kibui Gathuri

Men
Duncan Githinji

Duncan Githinji

Gun Supply, Men
Benson Karanja Kamamia

Benson Karanja Kamamia

Men
Julieta Njoki Ndiritû

Julieta Njoki Ndiritû

Food Carrier, General China, Women
Virginia Njeri Kimani

Virginia Njeri Kimani

Women
Amos Mararo

Amos Mararo

Detained/ Arrested, General Kago, Men, Murang'a Prison
Ruth Wambui

Ruth Wambui

Captain, Detained/ Arrested, Embakasi Prison, Kimathi Battalion, Nyandarua Forest, Women
Ruth Njoki

Ruth Njoki

Women
Margaret Mumbi Kariuki

Margaret Mumbi Kariuki

Food Carrier, Kia Riua, Komerera Battalion, Mung'aria Area, Women
Samuel Ndiritu Mwangi

Samuel Ndiritu Mwangi

Men
Mwai Macharia

Mwai Macharia

General China, Heka Heka, Kapenguria, Kapila, King'ong'o Prison, Major, Men
Lucy Wanjiru Ndūng’ū

Lucy Wanjiru Ndūng’ū

Food Carrier, Ngingo, Women
Grace Wagikondi Ngarî

Grace Wagikondi Ngarî

Kiangure Forest, Kwa Mario, Thunguri, Women
Ngotho Mûcherû

Ngotho Mûcherû

General Kago, Gikingi Battalion, Langata Prison, Men, Nairobi
James Gîtuba Maina

James Gîtuba Maina

Embakasi Prison, Food Carrier, Gun Material Supplier, Heka Heka Battalion, Industrial Area Prison, King'ong'o Prison, Langata Prison, Men
Macherû Njagi

Macherû Njagi

Kirinyaga Forest, Men, Wagakani
Simon Wanyeki

Simon Wanyeki

Baringo, Kariane Forest, Major, Men, Narok, Nyandarua HQ, Othaya
Josephine Njeri Mûkuna

Josephine Njeri Mûkuna

Kimathi, Mbaria Kaniu, Nyandarua Forest, Women
Esther Wanjiru wa Harun

Esther Wanjiru wa Harun

Food Carrier, Ihii, Women
Agnes Wangechi

Agnes Wangechi

Kenyatta, Maina wa Murang'a, Northey, Women
James Mûriûki Mûnyiri

James Mûriûki Mûnyiri

General China, Gun Maker, Men, Nyeri (Surrender Jail), Scout
Gericon Njoroge

Gericon Njoroge

Mariama, Men, Muria Imwe
Jacinta Wacera

Jacinta Wacera

Detained/ Arrested, Food Carrier, General Kamwamba, Women
Wanjiru Wanjau

Wanjiru Wanjau

Detained/ Arrested, Food Carrier, Women
Jacinta Nyambura Maingi

Jacinta Nyambura Maingi

Detained/ Arrested, Gikonyo wa Kanyugu, Kimathi, Messenger, Ruring'u, Women
Charles Kangûma Kamûnye

Charles Kangûma Kamûnye

Detained/ Arrested, General Kago, Men, Mt. Kenya Forest, Yatta Prison
Mûchigi wa Ndinguri

Mûchigi wa Ndinguri

Detained/ Arrested, Mageta Island Prison, Manyani Detention Camp, Mbaria Kaniu, Men
Ruth Nyokabi

Ruth Nyokabi

Kamiti Maximum Prison, Kariane, Kariane Forest, Othaya, Women
Wangeci Maranga

Wangeci Maranga

General China, Kabiru Forest, Kimathi, King'ong'o Prison, Ndung'u wa Gacheru, Women
Esther Mumbi

Esther Mumbi

Food Carrier, Women
Moses Mwangi

Moses Mwangi

Baringo, Detained/ Arrested, Food Carrier, General Ndûng'û wa Gîcheru, Men, Ndung'u wa Gacheru, Ngutheru Forest
Charity Wangui Kibuku

Charity Wangui Kibuku

Detained/ Arrested, General Kahiu Itina, Kamiti Maximum Prison, Women
Isabella Wamaitha wa Miano

Isabella Wamaitha wa Miano

General Mapiga Nyama, Gitumbwe Forest, Kabochi Forest, Kirinyaga Forest, Women
Garumi Mwai

Garumi Mwai

Corporal, Detained/ Arrested, Embu Prison, General Kareba, Kareba Battalion, Kirinyaga Forest, Men
Steven Maina wa Chege

Steven Maina wa Chege

General Kago, Men, Murang'a