giriama

Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen…. located away from Malindi in Kilifi County Kenya.

This landscape is a lot of compacted soil that keeps being eroded every time it rains. It takes 1 hour to walk around. It has some awesome places where you can take silhouettes. Its rough terrain according to the Giriama People(Part of the over 40 tribes in Kenya) was due to a family’s punishment by God. A rich family once lived on this piece of land. The family was selfish to the point of tossing out excess items out just so that their items are not given to other people. One night as they slept a major storm hit the land taking away the family with it.

6

The Traditionalists

Annagrace, my research partner and I had the amazing opportunity to spend the morning with some traditionalists in Malindi, Kenya. While they spent two and a half hours telling us about the history of their people, we began to understand more about their pride in their traditions and why they think we need to return to how it once was. And Annagrace got to wear a fabulous traditional Giriama dress.

Mekatilili wa Menza (d. 1925)

Mekatilili wa Menza may have been in the freedom struggle scene for a short time, but her contribution in raising the African consciousness among the Giriama people of the Coastal Kenya was immense.

Mekatilili was one of the first women in Kenya to rise up against the British in 1913. Her bravery, oratorical power and charisma earned her a huge following and saw her mobilize the Giriama to take oaths and offer sacrifices to restore their sovereignty.

Initially, her concern was the breakdown of the Giriama culture amid British influence and she pushed for a return to the traditional Giriama governance system. By extension, it created resistance to the authority of the British and the appointed headmen, the latter whom she accused of betraying the Giriama for rewards.

Mekatilili was particularly against the issue of labor recruitment. At the time, the British were putting increasing economic pressure on the Giriama, through taxation, attempts to control trade in palm wine and ivory, and by the recruitment of young men to work on plantations and public works projects.

Mekatilili’s anguish was over the growing disintegration of the Giriama, so she called upon her people to save their sons and daughters from getting lost in the British ways.

While her rebellion lasted for only one year, from 1913 to 1914, it had considerable impact on the relations between the British and the locals.

Despite her exploits, Mekatilili, who died in 1925 at the age of 70, was not recognized among Kenyan freedom fighters until October 20, 2010, the first ‘Mashujaa’ (Heroes) Day, when her statue was unveiled at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi — renamed Mekatilili wa Menza Garden — in her honor.


http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/banning-exonyms