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Visions of the African Press in Colonial Kenya: What the Nationalists Imagined
Unformatted Document Text:  16 Some of them became more outspoken in their criticism as the "people were beginning to lose their faith in gradual constitutional progress." 46 Yet the Africans’ criticisms seem rather mild. In one paper’s pages, an editorial praised the national movement in Ghana; another pointed out that of the 35 seats in the Legislative Council, only six went to Africans; and a cartoon showed "a European sitting at a table with a full plate telling an African with an empty plate, ’Your affairs have been under consideration since 1920. You will be granted all your needs.’ " 47 The papers also helped create political symbols and personalities. When African delegations went abroad, their trips were reported by the African press, which also published accounts of these visits written by the delegates themselves. 48 Among the objectives of the newspaper Uhuru ("Freedom") was the goal of "making the revolutionary spirit . . . more coherent and giving it fuller meaning in slogans." 49 Like many others, this newspaper intended "to tell everyone what we were doing and what they were expected to do." 50 The papers served as conduits for political messages that did not need to be transmitted through face-to-face contact; they allowed political organizations to proselytize to larger and larger audiences. Kaggia writes that it was through "these newspapers, ideas of unity and nationalism and the right of African self-determination were spread throughout Kenya. And Kikuyus living in Tanganyika and Uganda acted as missionaries of the liberation gospel. The fire of African nationalism was spreading throughout East Africa," fueled by the African press. 51 46 Kaggia 83. 47 Scotton 35. 48 Gadsden 521. 49 Mboya 75. 50 Ibid. 51 Kaggia 85.

Authors: Wall, Melissa.
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background image
16
Some of them became more outspoken in their criticism as the "people were
beginning to lose their faith in gradual constitutional progress."
46
Yet the Africans’
criticisms seem rather mild. In one paper’s pages, an editorial praised the national
movement in Ghana; another pointed out that of the 35 seats in the Legislative Council,
only six went to Africans; and a cartoon showed "a European sitting at a table with a full
plate telling an African with an empty plate, ’Your affairs have been under consideration
since 1920. You will be granted all your needs.’ "
47
The papers also helped create political symbols and personalities. When African
delegations went abroad, their trips were reported by the African press, which also
published accounts of these visits written by the delegates themselves.
48
Among the
objectives of the newspaper Uhuru ("Freedom") was the goal of "making the
revolutionary spirit . . . more coherent and giving it fuller meaning in slogans."
49
Like
many others, this newspaper intended "to tell everyone what we were doing and what
they were expected to do."
50
The papers served as conduits for political messages that did not need to be
transmitted through face-to-face contact; they allowed political organizations to
proselytize to larger and larger audiences. Kaggia writes that it was through "these
newspapers, ideas of unity and nationalism and the right of African self-determination
were spread throughout Kenya. And Kikuyus living in Tanganyika and Uganda acted as
missionaries of the liberation gospel. The fire of African nationalism was spreading
throughout East Africa," fueled by the African press.
51
46
Kaggia 83.
47
Scotton 35.
48
Gadsden 521.
49
Mboya 75.
50
Ibid.
51
Kaggia 85.


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