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Visions of the African Press in Colonial Kenya: What the Nationalists Imagined
Unformatted Document Text:  7 the sort of publicity he wanted . . . Though he had become a newsworthy individual, the East African Standard and other English-language papers were distinctly reluctant to give him a platform." 15 The newsletter provided Mboya a regular means of reaching the kind of audience he sought. Mboya wanted the trade union movement to generate support not only within Kenya but from Great Britain as well, but he knew the settler-press would never cover their activities, and, if they did get mentioned, it would only be in a negative manner. The publication achieved success as far as Mboya was concerned when it was relayed back to him that British "Labour MPs were indeed making use of the Newsletter in preparing their material for the House of Commons." 16 The settler-run press not only refused to give African leaders space for their views, the nationalists believed that it often acted as if their political movement did not exist. Activist Bildad Kaggia noted that when the settler press failed to cover the meetings of the Kenyan African Union (KAU) meetings, he would send reports of the meetings, which, when they were published, were often distorted. Later, the settler-press boycotted KAU meetings altogether. Even if the KAU submitted reports of these meetings, they went unpublished. 17 The Africans decided that if they wanted coverage of their political meetings, they would have to produce the coverage themselves. Political activists such as Kaggia started their own newspapers for precisely that purpose. "The newspapers . . . expressed African opinion." 18 Within a short time, KAU’s news was very well-reported, and people didn’t need the white-owned newspapers, according to Kaggia. He saw the privately sponsored papers prospering, giving readers the sort of outspoken political news that they wanted to read. 15 David Goldsworthy, Tom Mboya: The Man Kenya Wanted to Forget, (New York: Africana Publishing Company, 1982). 16 Ibid 40. 17 Kaggia 83. 18 Ibid.

Authors: Wall, Melissa.
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7
the sort of publicity he wanted . . . Though he had become a newsworthy individual, the
East African Standard and other English-language papers were distinctly reluctant to give
him a platform."
15
The newsletter provided Mboya a regular means of reaching the kind
of audience he sought. Mboya wanted the trade union movement to generate support not
only within Kenya but from Great Britain as well, but he knew the settler-press would
never cover their activities, and, if they did get mentioned, it would only be in a negative
manner. The publication achieved success as far as Mboya was concerned when it was
relayed back to him that British "Labour MPs were indeed making use of the Newsletter
in preparing their material for the House of Commons."
16
The settler-run press not only refused to give African leaders space for their
views, the nationalists believed that it often acted as if their political movement did not
exist. Activist Bildad Kaggia noted that when the settler press failed to cover the
meetings of the Kenyan African Union (KAU) meetings, he would send reports of the
meetings, which, when they were published, were often distorted. Later, the settler-press
boycotted KAU meetings altogether. Even if the KAU submitted reports of these
meetings, they went unpublished.
17
The Africans decided that if they wanted coverage of
their political meetings, they would have to produce the coverage themselves. Political
activists such as Kaggia started their own newspapers for precisely that purpose. "The
newspapers . . . expressed African opinion."
18
Within a short time, KAU’s news was very
well-reported, and people didn’t need the white-owned newspapers, according to Kaggia.
He saw the privately sponsored papers prospering, giving readers the sort of outspoken
political news that they wanted to read.
15
David Goldsworthy, Tom Mboya: The Man Kenya Wanted to Forget, (New York:
Africana Publishing Company, 1982).
16
Ibid 40.
17
Kaggia 83.
18
Ibid.


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