“It’s a Battle for Information”: Mau Mau as the Boogeyman of Decolonization

  • Dylan Biggs Temple University

Abstract

This paper sought to place a collection of newsreels from Pathé News about the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya into the historical narrative of the revolt. The current understanding of the Mau Mau has not included a comprehensive discussion of the coverage of the group and the way that news of the revolt shaped the history that follows it. What was observed throughout the reels was an increasingly hostile propaganda campaign against the Mau Mau. This stronger rhetoric coincided with greater atrocities committed by the British as the war dragged on. The main findings of the paper were that the Mau Mau became a kind of “boogeyman” for the British about the dangers of decolonization, as well as the way that the news about the revolt served to paint the revolt in explicitly racist terms. The Mau Mau play an important role in the history of Kenya, and collections like that of Pathé News help to illuminate the narrative that the British developed for the independence struggle.

Author Biography

Dylan Biggs, Temple University
Dylan Biggs is an undergraduate History major at Temple University.

References

Amnesty Offered To Mau Mau. ​Video. 1955. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ amnesty-offered-to-mau-mau (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Anderson, David. ​Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire.​ New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005.

“Assignment Mau Mau” – Exclusive​. Video. 1953. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ assignment-mau-mau-exclusive (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

British M.P’s in Kenya.​ Video. 1954. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ british-m-ps-in-kenya​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Elkins, Caroline. ​Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya​. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.

Horne, Gerald. ​Mau Mau in Harlem? The U.S. and the Liberation of Kenya.​ New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.

Kenya Ready C – Day – Exclusive.​ Video. 1953. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ kenya-ready-c-day-exclusive (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Kenya Report.​ Video. 1953. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ kenya-report​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Lyttleton in Kenya. ​Video. 1952. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/l yttleton-in-kenya-1​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Lyttleton in Kenya​. Video. 1954. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/l yttelton-in-kenya​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Mau Mau Chief Captured. Video. 1956. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ mau-mau-chief-captured​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Mau Mau Disorders In Kenya. V​ideo. 1952. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ mau-mau-disorders-in-kenya (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Mau Mau - Lari Massacre Trial.​ Video. 1953. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ mau-mau-lari-massacre-tria (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Mau Mau Victims Funeral. ​Video. 1953. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ mau-mau-victims-funeral​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Meriwether, James H. ​Proudly We Can Be Africans: Black Americans and Africa, 1935-1961​. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Operations Against Mau Mau.​ Video. 1954. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ operations-against-mau-mau (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

“Operation Anvil” in Nairobi​. Video. 1954. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/ operation-anvil-in-nairobi​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Shadow Over Kenya.​ Video. 1954. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/t he-shadow-over-kenya​ (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

The Mark Of The Mau Mau – Exclusive. Video. 1953. Nairobi: Pathé News. Online, https://www.britishpathe.com/video/t he-mark-of-the-mau-mau-exclusive (Accessed April 14th, 2018).

Published
2019-05-24
How to Cite
Biggs, D. (2019). “It’s a Battle for Information”: Mau Mau as the Boogeyman of Decolonization. Perceptions, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.15367/pj.v5i2.194