Rewriting history: Sometimes fiction tells the real story

Yesterday I visited the said museum, and being there reminded me of two Kenyan writers who have discussed somewhat similar experiences on the history or discounting of other histories of Kenya — Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and Kiprop Kimutai. PHOTO| EMMA NZIOKA

What you need to know:

  • Owuor once talked of how she one day walked into the National Museum and was saddened to overhear a guide informing a visitor how Kenya would not have been free had his community not fought valiantly against the British.
  • The guide, in effect, was erasing the narrative and contribution of all other ethnic groups.

I have always been aware of the history of a South African war from 1899 to 1902 commonly known as the Second Anglo-Boer War. What I had known about it from historians — mostly of Afrikaner descent, had been how, many years before the Second World War and Hitler, the British had held many Afrikaner women, children and men in concentration camps, resulting in the loss of many lives.  Over 27,000 Afrikaner lives, mostly children, were lost during this war due to bad living conditions and infectious diseases caused by overcrowded conditions.


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