When Grandpa Was A Boy, Were There Any Dinosaurs?

Annoying Or Coercive Or Downright Sadistic

Soldiers of the King’s African Rifles transport goods by horseback, while keeping a watch for Mau Mau fighters

1953: Kenyan police and white settlers treated Mau Mau suspects in ways that ranged from annoying to coercive to downright sadistic.

Annoying: detainees on Mageta Island in Lake Victoria were subjected to endless replays of “God Save the Queen”.

Coercive: a European police officer admitted he got results during interrogations by “putting an up-turned bucket on a man’s head and then beating it with a metal instrument for up to half an hour when the man usually burst into tears and gave the information if he had any”.

Downright sadistic: at the Mackinnon Road reception camp, a young European settler nicknamed “Kenda Kenda” (“Nine Nine”) because of the perverse way he would single out the ninth of a line of detainees for extreme violence, was in charge of indoctrinating “black”, or hardcore, suspects. “He would take the ‘blacks’ just after they came into the camp,” recalled one detainee, “and start screaming for them to squat in fives, he would start counting, and then the unfortunate ninth man was sometimes rolled inside a coil of barbed wire by the askaris and Kenda Kenda would start kicking him around, screaming at the man, calling him a ‘bloody Mau Mau.’ ”

Source: Caroline Elkins, Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya (2005), pp. 92, 157, 158, 399

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