Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Villagization

Nov 26, 2019 - Nura Qureshi

Villagization was the British program of forced resettlement to cut off Mau Mau’s supply lines. About 1.5 Million Kikuyu, mostly residents of the Kiambu, Nyeri, Murang’a and Embu Districts, were forced to move into “protected villages” behind barbed-wire fences and watch towers. The kipande¬†identification chain indicated the tribe to which a person belonged and had to be worn at all times. There were no advance warnings before the evictions began and villages were burned down.

 

I found very little artifacts of the era and in general, the Kenyans didn’t like to talk about the history of the land or their memories that¬†formed the roots in the soil. When we approached some War Veterans in their association building adjacent to the former courthouse, they only used the translator to communicate with us. After we talked for a while, realizing that I was German, not British as they assumed, they looked us straight into the eyes while speaking English and being happy to have met someone interested in their story.