Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tom Mboya on Time Magazine Cover

I have been reading the TIME magazine archives (available free on the web) with some fascination. In 1960 TIME had a cover story on 29 year old Tom Mboya (he may be the only Kenyan to have ever graced the magazine's cover).

It is an excellent story and it talks about his popularity, his background, his relationship with one Pamela Odede, the Mboya airlift, his support of Kenyatta.

The Kikuyu are a people of dark and mystical dreams whose legend relates that when Ngai (God) first divided up the world, he held Kenya in such affection that he kept Mount Kenya as his favorite resting place. He told Gikuyu, the first Kikuyu, that if difficulty ever arose, Gikuyu should make a sacrifice and raise a hand toward Mount Kenya, and Ngai would help. Not far away, under a fig tree, Gikuyu found a beautiful woman, Moombi, to be mother of the Kikuyu race. Later, when their nine beautiful daughters needed husbands, Gikuyu sacrificed a lamb and a kid under a fig tree, smeared their blood on its bark, faced Mount Kenya, and saw his daughters' wishes come true.

From this legend came the Kikuyu deep veneration of their mountain and the earth of its endless slopes.

And perhaps more interesting

In 1929, fierce, bearded Jomo Kenyatta, wild-eyed Kikuyu spokesman and student of telepathy, magic spells and Kikuyu lore, journeyed to London to demand the white man's land and political rights for his people. After 15 years in London and two in Moscow, he returned to Kenya to set up a network of bush schools, which spread antiwhite propaganda and upheld such barbaric Kikuyu rites as female circumcision,* which the missionaries and government officials had tried to stop. District officers stumbled onto fanatic ritual meetings in forest clearings. Later, word spread that tens of thousands of Kikuyu were taking fierce oaths of loyalty to a strange creed called Mau Mau, sealing the bond by drinking blood and waving cat corpses in the air as they sat facing the holy mountain.


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