My Story: Susan Kibaara

I happened to be introduced to a lovely lady called Olivia first week of 2018. I remember the first time we talked on phone, I felt like I had known her for years. She is easy to talk to and very welcoming lady. She talked of a research project she had started on the Mau Mau. Being a Kikuyu from the central region of Kenya, I felt excited about the venture since my family can relate so well with what happened during that period.

So I went like, “count me in gal, I want to be part of this awesome journey”… and so we have been in communication every hour, discussing and guiding each other on the milestones to achieve as we endeavour to showcase our findings. The team has now grown to 4 members all ladies! Ops! We need gender equality here.

My grandfather the home guard

As I was growing up, I didn’t have a paternal grandfather… it didn’t bother me much.   It was said that he passed on many years ago when my dad was barely 10 years old.  I was told that my grandfather died when my father was in class three (3).  This would have been around the year 1955. My aunties and uncle from my paternal side reside in Nanyuki.  We barely met with the school and all.  By the time my dad passed on in 2004, I couldn’t say I had a full story about what caused my grandfather death.

  Figure 1: My grandfather holding my dad who was a few months old. Standing beside is my grandmother and in front is my Uncle Stephen and Aunty Lucy.

Figure 1: My grandfather holding my dad who was a few months old. Standing beside is my grandmother and in front is my Uncle Stephen and Aunty Lucy.

After my father’s death, I spoke to my Uncle Stephen Muita. I learnt that my grandfather Josphat Njogu was a colonial home guard.  Home guards were considered British loyalists.  The Mau Maus did not like the people who were working for the colonialists as they were considered traitors, snitches. The colonialists used these home guards to beat and kill Mau Maus. One day my uncle and his mum, Tabitha Gacoki received information that a decapitated body had been found stashed inside a drum by the river. It was suspected to have been my grandfather… and it was.  That must have been a painful death… not interesting to think of. For fear of her life, my grandmother fled with her 8 children to the forest in Nanyuki called Ontriri where they became settlers… to be continued.