Mau Mau leaders, 1954 (c)
Photograph, Kenya, 1954 (c).
This photograph was possibly a hand out to troops for recognition purposes. In 1952 elements of the Kenyan Kikuyu tribe, known as the Mau Mau, began a campaign of terror against Europeans and fellow Africans. Although it contained elements of anti-colonialism, the rising was also about land ownership and who was to rule Kenya once the British withdrew.
Although the Mau Mau murdered a number of white settlers, the vast majority of their victims were fellow Africans. By the end of the emergency, 32 European civilians had died at the hands of the Mau Mau but so had over 1,800 Africans. Mau Mau guerrillas may have totalled 25,000, but they had few modern weapons. Even so, it took the Army and police over four years to defeat them.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection