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Visions of the African Press in Colonial Kenya: What the Nationalists Imagined
Unformatted Document Text:  9 themselves." 20 Muigwithania appears to have been perceived as much milder in its first days than the authorities would later see it. Harlow and Chilver (1965) note that the Native Affairs Department report of 1929 found much in it to commend. Its contents were "a mixture of advice, proverbs, and news" with the underlying themes of self- reliance and unity. Articles ranged from explaining how to make the land productive by planting African fruit trees to encouraging readers to send their children to school, follow church rules and listen to the advice of the colonial government’s agricultural department. 21 Quoting from an issue of Muigwithania, Clough (1990) writes: "Take note that this word ’helping oneself’ is very important as far as we are concerned for no nation can attain to a good representation unless they first know this word ’self help’ because it is this word which commences to impart to a people strength and industriousness." 22 Other ethnic groups also saw the establishment of a newspaper as a means of achieving self-reliance, according to Odinga Odinga. He notes that when he sought to instill self- confidence in his ethnic group, the Luo, two endeavors were singled out for their importance in achieving a sense of self-worth: opening a savings association and starting a newspaper. "Our first undertaking was to build a shop [for the savings association]. . . the second was to launch a press to propagate our aims and objectives." 23 Not only editors, but readers too called for more self-reliance. Both groups exhorted their fellows on the importance of thrift, hard work and honesty. Both called for more opportunities for Africans to be formally educated, using the pages of the newspapers to raise funds to send African students overseas. Some publishers saw a need for self- improvement in order to adequately equip Africans to challenge colonial authority. 24 20 Guy Arnold, Kenyatta and the Politics of Kenya (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1974), 22. 21 Ibid. 22 Marshall S. Clough, Fighting Two Sides; Kenyan Chiefs and Politicians, (Niwot, Colo: University Press of Colorado, 1990), 129. 23 Ibid 79. 24 Gadsden 521.

Authors: Wall, Melissa.
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background image
9
themselves."
20
Muigwithania appears to have been perceived as much milder in its first
days than the authorities would later see it. Harlow and Chilver (1965) note that the
Native Affairs Department report of 1929 found much in it to commend. Its contents
were "a mixture of advice, proverbs, and news" with the underlying themes of self-
reliance and unity. Articles ranged from explaining how to make the land productive by
planting African fruit trees to encouraging readers to send their children to school, follow
church rules and listen to the advice of the colonial government’s agricultural
department.
21
Quoting from an issue of Muigwithania, Clough (1990) writes:
"Take note that this word ’helping oneself’ is very important as far
as we are concerned for no nation can attain to a good representation
unless they first know this word ’self help’ because it is this word
which commences to impart to a people strength and industriousness."
22
Other ethnic groups also saw the establishment of a newspaper as a means of
achieving self-reliance, according to Odinga Odinga. He notes that when he sought to
instill self- confidence in his ethnic group, the Luo, two endeavors were singled out for
their importance in achieving a sense of self-worth: opening a savings association and
starting a newspaper. "Our first undertaking was to build a shop [for the savings
association]. . . the second was to launch a press to propagate our aims and objectives."
23
Not only editors, but readers too called for more self-reliance. Both groups exhorted their
fellows on the importance of thrift, hard work and honesty. Both called for more
opportunities for Africans to be formally educated, using the pages of the newspapers to
raise funds to send African students overseas. Some publishers saw a need for self-
improvement in order to adequately equip Africans to challenge colonial authority.
24
20
Guy Arnold, Kenyatta and the Politics of Kenya (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.,
1974), 22.
21
Ibid.
22
Marshall S. Clough, Fighting Two Sides; Kenyan Chiefs and Politicians, (Niwot, Colo:
University Press of Colorado, 1990), 129.
23
Ibid 79.
24
Gadsden 521.


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