Representations of Kenyan History in Oral Literature: 1948-2002.
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This paper discusses the representation of Kenyan history in oral literature between 1948 and 2002. The paper relied on library and ethnographic data. The ethnographic data included audio recordings of renditions of well known Mau Mau folksongs, popular and topical songs and a narrative. The play, Ngahika Ndeenda, by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Ngugi Wa Mirii was treated as an oral drama. The texts were translated from Gikuyu language to English and the content messages categorized for analysis. The analytical categories cover the literary representations of the Olenguruone land crises, the Mau Mau uprising and the independence era. The independence era is divided into Kenyatta and Uhuru and the Post Kenyatta era of 2002. The paper lays no claim to historical objectivity but interrogates the texts as literary artifacts. In the analysis and discussions, the Olenguruone land crisis emerges as the genesis of the armed resistance to colonialism and Kenyatta is represented as the collective wish for the de-colonization of Kenya. The paper further discusses the literary representations of the political changes surrounding the governance of President Jomo Kenyatta, President Daniel Arap Moi and the fight for democratic pluralism in Kenyan politics. This paper concludes that oral literature is a significant instrument in the reflection of change and innovations in politics. As a cultural artifact, it also becomes a form of national consciousness.
- Humanities