The University of Wisconsin Press

History / African Studies / Politics / Education

Mau Mau’s Children
The Making of Kenya’s Postcolonial Elite
David P. Sandgren
Foreword by Thomas Spear

Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture
Thomas Spear, David Henige, and Michael Schatzberg, Series Editor

Who were the children of the Mau Mau Rebellion and what became of them after Kenya’s independence?

In 1963 David Sandgren went to Kenya to teach in a small, rural school for boys, where he remained for the next four years. These were heady times for Kenyans, as the nation gained its independence, approved a new constitution, and held its first elections. In the school where Sandgren taught, the sons of Gikuyu farmers rose to the challenges of this post colonial era and, in time, entered Kenyan society as adults, joining Kenya’s first generation of post colonial elites.

In Mau Mau’s Children, Sandgren reconnects with these former students. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews, he provides readers with a collective biography of the lives of Kenya’s first postcolonial elite, stretching from their 1940s childhood to the peak of their careers in the 1990s. Through these interviews, Mau Mau’s Children shows the trauma of growing up during the Mau Mau Rebellion, the nature of nationalism in Kenya, the new generational conflicts arising, and the significance of education and Gikuyu ethnicity on his students’ path to success.

Portrait of author David P. SandgrenDavid P. Sandgren is professor of history at Concordia College – Moorhead in Minnesota. He is the author of Christianity and the Kikuyu: Religious Divisions and Social Conflict.


“The commentary is fascinating and lucid, and the overall result is original and highly informative.” Choice

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Of Related Interest:
The cover of this book is a colorized photo of a group of Rwandans clustered around the extremely tall Musinga.Defeat Is the Only Bad News
Rwanda under Musinga, 1896–1931
Alison Liebhafsky Des Forges
Foreword by Roger V. Des Forges
Edited by David Newbury

“A brilliant, lively, and daring interpretation of Musinga’s governance of Rwanda under foreign control. Documenting the colonial situation that gave rise to a precarious future, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the tragedy of Rwanda’s recent history” —Jan Vansina, author of Oral Tradition as History and Antecedents to Modern Rwanda

Photograph of Kenyan schoolchildren

July 2012
LC: 2011042649 DT
184 pp.   6 x 9   12 b/w photos

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Paper $26.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-28784-9
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Mau Mau’s Children provides insights that are vivid and important and that are not available elsewhere in literature.”
—Richard Waller, Bucknell University

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Updated February 15, 2012

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