First Lady: Women’s role in freedom struggle unappreciated


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta joined scores of Mau Mau veterans and top academicians to celebrate the life of Mrs Mukami Kimathi and her sacrifices in Kenya’s freedom struggle.

The First Lady also unveiled a new book by Mrs Kimathi that puts Kenya’s liberation struggle into a new perspective including the last words of foremost freedom fighter, the late Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi before he was hanged by the colonialists on 18th February 1957.

During the celebrations at the Nairobi National Museum, Mrs Kimathi made her last wishes including a passionate plea to the government to locate Kimathi’s grave at Kamiti Prison so that the remains of the freedom hero “can be  accorded a decent burial”.

“The government should take the responsibility of looking for his body so that we can give him a decent burial”, pleaded Mrs Kimathi who has been battling ill health for the past few years and which has confined her to a wheel-chair.

Her other wishes to the nation include the integration and cohesion of all ethnic groups and eradication of tribalism as envisaged by the freedom fighters.

Mrs Kimathi was among the female combatants who joined their husbands in the forests.

Her new book “Mukami Kimathi—Mau Mau Freedom fighter”, details the role of women in the freedom struggle including such notable heroines like Mama Ngina Kenyatta (mother of the Nation), Mekatilili wa Menza, Syotune wa Kathuke and  Moraa wa Ngiti among others.

While paying glowing tribute to Mrs Kimathi over her patriotic sacrifices at the expense of her life and family, the First Lady said Mrs Kimathi’s  huge sacrifices represents the important role played by women in the liberation struggle but which had gone largely unappreciated.

“The role of women in the liberation struggle is either unknown or unappreciated”, said the First Lady.

She said in most cases, Kenyans are led to think that women did not contribute to the struggle, or contributed very little, or were primarily victims and obstacles to men marching towards freedom.

“Many times, history has failed to accord women their rightful place in its version of events. Women’s contributions in these historical events have been marginalized to the fringes of history, and excluded from curricula in our institutions of learning”, said the First Lady.

The First Lady said many liberation movements across the world may not have succeeded were it not for the critical role played by women.

She said Mrs Kimathi’s life gives Kenyans an insight into the enormous  challenges and incredible sacrifices that women in liberation movements endured.

“And they deserve  to be honored and recognized for those sacrifices”.


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