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States of EmergencyColonialism, Literature and Law$
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Stephen Morton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318498

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318498.001.0001

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Torture, Indefinite Detention and the Colonial State of Emergency in Kenya

Torture, Indefinite Detention and the Colonial State of Emergency in Kenya

Chapter:
(p.119) Chapter 4 Torture, Indefinite Detention and the Colonial State of Emergency in Kenya
Source:
States of Emergency
Author(s):

Stephen Morton

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318498.003.0005

Chapter four considers how the state of emergency in Kenya from 1952 to 1959 has been codified in the literary and legal rhetoric of British colonialism, and criticised by postcolonial African writers and intellectuals as a sign of the inherent violence of European colonial rule. The chapter begins by tracing how the colonial government used the deaths of white settlers and Kenyan Loyalists to justify its recourse to emergency legislation and the detention of an estimated 1.5 million Kikuyu people, who were suspected by the colonial authorities of being involved with the Land and Freedom army, more commonly known as the Mau Mau. After an analysis of the representation of the Land and Freedom army in Robert Ruark’s Something of Value (1955), the chapter proceeds to examine how the colonial state of emergency is framed and contested in the fiction of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

Keywords:   Kenya, colonialism, state of emergency, Robert Ruark, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

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