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Exhibition Resources


Exhibition Resources

In line with our upcoming exhibition on The Mau Mau Emergency, we recommend the following books, TV, documentary, archive, radio and conferences.



Operation Legacy, Museum of British Colonialism and History Hit [28 mins]: In 2009 a group of Kenyan war veterans sued the British government to reveal the truth about what really happened during the Mau Mau Emergency. This documentary tells their incredible story and exposes the depth of the cover up that rocked the establishment and changed the way we view colonial history forever.

White Terror, BBC [44 mins]: A deep, inspiring video documenting former Mau Mau detainees from the Kenyan Emergency in the 1950’s. This BBC documentary is based on the research of Harvard Professor, Caroline Elkins. This documentary was part of the evidence supporting the Mau Mau case in London’s High Court.

We Must Sin Quietly, History Day [13 mins]: A short documentary providing an overview of British in Kenya from 1895 to the departure of the British in 1963.

Kenya’s Mau Mau The Last Battle, Aljazeera [47 mins]: A 2013 Al Jazeera documentary following the journey of Kenyans seeking justice for Britain’s role in the torture during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising.

The End of Empire Chapter 12: Kenya, Granada Television [63 mins]: First televised in 1985, The End of Empire series used old newsreel film and interviews with both colonizers and the colonized to chronicle the last days of British rule around the globe, and in this episode Kenya.

Museum of British Colonialism, YouTube: Visit the Museum of British Colonialism’s YouTube channel for videos documenting the museum’s field trip to Kangubiri and Mweru High Schools, formerly Mau Mau detention centres.


Thunder from the Mountains: Poems and Songs from the Mau Mau, Mania wa Kinyatti: One of foremost Kenyan historian writing about the Mau Mau, Kinyatti was arrested and imprisoned in the 1980s for writing about the Mau Mau. In this book, Kinyatti analyses poems and songs from the time of the Mau Mau Emergency. Other books by Kinyatti include: Mau Mau: A Revolution Betrayed and Kenya’s Freedom Struggle: The Dedan Kimathi Papers.

Mau Mau from Within: An Analysis of Kenya’s Peasant Revolt, Donald L. Barnett and Karari Njama: A book co-authored by American anthropologist Donald Barnett and Karari Njama, a former Mau Mau veteran and Dedan Kimathi’s secretary. Njama is interviewed at length and we hear about the armed movement, its organisation, motivations and weaknesses.

‘Striking Back at the Empire: The Mau Mau Case in London’ Annual review, Centre of African Studies, University London, 2 (I). pp. 2-5 (2011), Chege Githiora: As part of the campaign to attract attention to the Mau Mau court case in 2009, Dr Githiora wrote this short article for the first ever annual review of the Centre of African Studies (CAS) at SOAS.

Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: Kenyan novelist and post-colonial theorist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s book is a collection of essays about language and its constructive role in national culture, history, and identity. The book, which advocates linguistic decolonization, is one of Ngũgĩ’s best-known and most-cited non-fiction publications, helping to cement him as a preeminent voice theorizing the “language debate” in post-colonial studies.

Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag, Caroline Elkins: Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Caroline Elkins conducted years of research to piece together this story, unearthing reams of documents and interviewing several hundred Kikuyu survivors.

Histories of the Hanged, David Anderson: Anderson’s book tells the story of the brutal war between the colonial government and the insurrectionist Mau Mau between 1952 and 1960. Anderson’s troubling account details a colonial empire in its final phase employing whatever military and propaganda methods were necessary to preserve an order that it could no longer hold.

Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of a Peasant Revolt, Wunyabari O. Maloba: Maloba is an important Kenyan historian, his book widens the debate about the Mau Mau revolt and takes an economic analysis of the struggle. It is clear from the subtitle of his book that he also considers the Mau Mau as a peasant revolution against British colonialism.

Fighting the Mau Mau, Huw Bennett: For the first time Huw Bennett examines the conduct of soldiers in detail during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, and uncovers the uneasy relationship between notions of minimum force and the colonial tradition of exemplary force.

Decolonization and Independence in Kenya 1940-93, Bethwell A. Ogot and William Ochieng (eds)

‘Revolt of the Elders: An Anatomy of the Loyalist Crowd in the Mau Mau Uprising 1952-1956.’; Bethwell A. Ogot in Alan Bethwell (ed), Hadith 4: Politics and Nationalism in Colonial Kenya, 134-148

Mau Mau and Nationhood: Arms, Authority and Narration, E.S. Atieno Odhiambo and John Lonsdale (eds)

‘The production of history in Kenya: the Mau Mau debate.’ Canadian Journal of African Studies 25, ii: 300-307, E.S Atieno Odhiambo in Canadian Journal of African Studies 25, ii. 300-307

‘The Formative Years 1945-55.’, E.S Atieno Odhiambo in Bethwell A. Ogot and William Ochieng (eds) Decolonization and Independence in Kenya 1940-93, pp. 25-47.


Unmarked Grave, A Story of the Mau Mau War (2017) translation of P.M Kareithi’s Kaburi Bila Msalaba (1969) by Chege Githiora: 2019 marks fifty years since the publication of Kaburi Bila Msalaba. The book written in Swahili and first published in 1969 has been translated for the first time from Swahili into English by Dr Chege Githiora. The narrative portrays a powerful account of life during the Mau Mau struggles in Kenya and the defeat of British Colonialism and is told in the spirit of oral tradition and community history.

Weep Not, Child, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: A powerful story detailing the effects of the infamous Mau Mau war, the African nationalist revolt against colonial oppression in Kenya, on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular.

Other novels by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o include The River Between, A Grain of Wheat and Petals of Blood.


“Mau Mau” Detainee: The Account of a Kenya African of His Experiences in Detention Camps 1953-1960, Josiah Mwangi Kariuki

Mau Mau Author in Detention, Gakaara wa Wanjaũ. Translated and heavily edited by Paul Ngigi Njoroge

Mau Mau’s Daughter: A Life History, Wambui Waiyaki Otieno


The Mau Mau Uprising, Museum of British Colonialism and History Hit [27mins]

Dan Snow talks live to contributors in two different continents, Olivia Windham-Stewart from the Museum of British Colonialism with contributors Susan Kibaara and Mary Njoroge in Kenya. They discuss the caesuras in British colonial history, and what can be done to correct them.

Mau Mau, Radiolab [44mins]

When professor Caroline Elkins came across a stray document left by the British colonial government in Nairobi, Kenya, she opened the door to a new reckoning with the history of one of Britain’s colonial crown jewels, and the fearsome group of rebels known as the Mau Mau. Radiolab talks to historians, archivists, journalists and send their producer to visit the Mau Mau.


Mau Mau Prisoners Released, Kenya [01:18 mins]: A group of fifty Mau Mau detainees released from Aguthi Works Camp early November 18, 1959.

Kenya Debate on Hola, 1959 [02:48 mins]: Members filmed proceeding into the Chamber of the Council, prior to the debate on the Hola incident.

Kenya Hola MauMau Detention Camp, 1959 [01:10mins]: Film of Mau Mau detainees on hunger strike at the detention camp.

Operations against Mau Mau, 1954 [05:46 mins]: Various shots including a patrol of police, home guard and Inniskilling Fusiliers walking through the bush, searching huts and arresting Mau Mau suspects.

 “Operation Anvil” in Nairobi, 1954 [06:25 mins]: Military forces inspecting the credentials of Mau Mau supporters and segregated suspects.

Please note, this page, like every page on the site, is a work in progress. The above is therefore not a definitive list. It will be updated as and when possible! If you have suggestions, however, please feel free to send them to us at info@museumofbritishcolonialism.org.

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