The Contribution of the Colonialism on Cottage Industry in Tharaka South Sub-County, Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya from 1907 to 1963
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The Tharaka people had various forms of cottage industries which they used to produce myriad traditional items and weapons to sustain their livelihood during the pre-European period. Such articles and weapons are boats, pots, baskets, mats, bee hives, swords, spears and hoes. These cottage industries were negatively impacted by the arrival of the European colonialists, consequently affecting the socio-cultural and economic life of the Tharaka people. However, the aspect of contribution of colonial rule on the Tharaka cottage industry has not been adequately researched by the economic historians. This gave the impetus to this study that sought to investigate the contribution of the colonialism on the traditional cottage industries in Tharaka South Sub-County. The colonial rule was extended to Tharaka in 1907 when the British colonialists arrived in the area. The study was carried out in Tharaka South Sub-County in Tharaka-Nithi County. The study was anchored on the articulation of modes of production theory. The data was collected from oral, archival and secondary sources. Fifty respondents for oral interview were sampled through purposive and snowballing techniques. Research instruments employed comprised the interview schedules and focus group discussions. The study found that colonialism had far-reaching negative consequences on the Tharaka traditional cottage industries. It was noted that there was decline in production in cottage industries, abject poverty among the traditional crafts, majority of the artisans lost their employment, change in social roles and mass emigrations of the traditional technologists in search for alternative source of livelihood. This research contributes to the wider comprehension of the cottage industry in the pre-colonial Kenya and Africa in general. The study contributes to Tharaka historiography.
- Humanities