“Written 25 years ago, Kenya: A Prison Notebook has inspired generations and proved a great resource and a handbook in political education in Kenya and beyond. It chronicles Maina Wa Kinyatti’s arrest and detention by the Moi regime and powerfully captures Kenya’s history. Maina wa Kinyatti was then a university professor and foremost researcher on the Mau Mau (Kenya Land and Freedom Army), the liberation movement that engaged the British colonialists in the armed struggle for land and freedom. In 1982, he was arrested by state agents for ‘possession of seditious material’ and detained by the Moi regime. Maina wrote Kenya: A Prison Notebook over the course of the next six and half years he spent in detention – mostly in solitary confinement. Maina’s work and writing remain a constant and painful reminder that the objectives of the freedom struggle the Mau Mau engaged in are yet to be achieved. Kenya is a neo-colonial state. Her economy is in the hands of global capital and imperialism, while constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms are everyday blatantly disregarded with impunity. Maina’s generation continued with the struggle for a better society and showed great courage by confronting a regime that was prepared to go to any lengths to suppress dissenting voices. Today, another generation is continuing with that struggle in fulfillment of its historical responsibility.
Through this collection of reflections on Kenya: A Prison Notebook, young comrades from various movements and organizations interrogate the lived reality and material conditions of their generation whilst relating them to past struggles and experiences. They reflect on a range of themes; including the purpose of education as a tool for liberation or bondage; the unfinished task of national liberation; intergenerational inheritance of social struggles in Kenya; not forgetting the pain, courage, patriotism, and organizing reflected in the book. These reflections are a celebration of Maina wa Kinyatti and all those who engaged in struggles for a better Kenya and Afrika. They additionally are an urgent reminder of the need to organize more than ever given the lived reality and material conditions of our people – those living in deprivation, those whose rights are suppressed and freedoms infringed. They are a reminder that struggle, like change, is a constant. These reflections were inspired by a conversation-on at Ukombozi Library between Gacheke Gachihi, Nicholas Mwangi, and Brian Mathenge.A Luta continua! Sungu Oyoo – Editor
Full PDF of the Book can be found here.