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Visions of the African Press in Colonial Kenya: What the Nationalists Imagined
Unformatted Document Text:  12 of Kikuyu to articulate concerns that were common to most if not all Kikuyu. 30 Clough notes that Kenyatta criticized Kikuyu who forgot about their ethnic roots and attempted to imitate Europeans because "to win back self-respect and their birthright Kikuyu would have to rely on themselves." 31 The old divisions in which villages followed individual chiefs would never have allowed such a community to organize and grow. The chiefs in fact sided with the colonials in some cases in order to hold onto their power. 32 Muigwithania and other papers that followed would help the new leaders change their own ethnic group’s conception of community. Muigwithania not only allowed the progressives to unite, it aimed to foster a sense of pride in being Kikuyu and being African through its use of local riddles, proverbs and stories which aimed to foster pride in being both Kikuyu and African. 33 The pages of the paper appealed to all Kikuyu to help raise money to send Kenyatta, one of their own, to study in England. Other groups also saw the importance of coming together as a community. Odinga writes that "we Luo had to assert ourselves among the other peoples of Kenya" by building " a sense of unity, common purpose and achievement." 34 They saw the newspaper as a means of articulating the Luo point of view on political and other subjects. But the only way they could produce the paper was by working together as a group. Printing costs were high and could not borne by a single individual. The papers allowed members of the ethnic group to publicize the activities of others. "Its readers were my contemporaries who were perhaps for the first time beginning to thing about national, as distinct from local, affairs." 35 30 Kenyatta. 31 Clough 129. 32 Ibid. 33 Anthony Howarth. Kenyatta: A Photographic Biography. (Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1967.) 34 Odinga 76-77. 35 Ibid 81.

Authors: Wall, Melissa.
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12
of Kikuyu to articulate concerns that were common to most if not all Kikuyu.
30
Clough
notes that Kenyatta criticized Kikuyu who forgot about their ethnic roots and attempted
to imitate Europeans because "to win back self-respect and their birthright Kikuyu would
have to rely on themselves."
31
The old divisions in which villages followed individual
chiefs would never have allowed such a community to organize and grow. The chiefs in
fact sided with the colonials in some cases in order to hold onto their power.
32
Muigwithania and other papers that followed would help the new leaders change their
own ethnic group’s conception of community. Muigwithania not only allowed the
progressives to unite, it aimed to foster a sense of pride in being Kikuyu and being
African through its use of local riddles, proverbs and stories which aimed to foster pride
in being both Kikuyu and African.
33
The pages of the paper appealed to all Kikuyu to
help raise money to send Kenyatta, one of their own, to study in England.
Other groups also saw the importance of coming together as a community.
Odinga writes that "we Luo had to assert ourselves among the other peoples of Kenya"
by building " a sense of unity, common purpose and achievement."
34
They saw the
newspaper as a means of articulating the Luo point of view on political and other
subjects. But the only way they could produce the paper was by working together as a
group. Printing costs were high and could not borne by a single individual. The papers
allowed members of the ethnic group to publicize the activities of others. "Its readers
were my contemporaries who were perhaps for the first time beginning to thing about
national, as distinct from local, affairs."
35
30
Kenyatta.
31
Clough 129.
32
Ibid.
33
Anthony Howarth. Kenyatta: A Photographic Biography. (Nairobi: East African
Publishing House, 1967.)
34
Odinga 76-77.
35
Ibid 81.


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