Period leading up to First World War – active resistance
Giriama uprising -
Mekatilili (nickname) – actual name ws Manyanzi wa Menza
Active resistance among ppl who are considered stateless
Giriama are part of the coastal part of Kenya (a bit to the interior) bc a 10 mile strip along
coast of Kenya belonged to the sultan of Zanzibar.
They were part of the Miji Kenda (9 different groups) – linguistically closely related,
congregated around 45 cities called the Kaya. Mixed farmers and traders
Mekatilili – “woman who was like a man” –didn’t fit into mold of precolonial society mold
or the British
Women are gentle, not confrontation, not in public at that time.
Public participation is considered “male”. She is considered as “the woman who sat on
men” – woman who subordinated men
Declared a freedom fighter oct 20, 2010. 20 of October in Kenya is celebrated as Hero’s
Used to be called Kenyatta day
Kenya independent in 1963
20 October historically important bc 20 october, 1952 – bc gov declared a state of
emergency. Many Africans who were suspected in being involved in the guerilla liberation
movement. Range of political leaders were elected – including Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenyatta day was renamed to heroes day was acknowledgement that there was more than
Women tend to fill political voids left by men at points of political process
Women step in, save the day, and then usually disappear again
Women combine power w/ own personal, unique traits
In general, women in political spaces in pre col Africa – 3 diff scenarios –
1) centralized kingdoms (Islamic, other indigenous) – queens, queen mothers, other
royal women who would hold public political offices; however, centralized
kingdoms only 20% 2) Dual sex – polit – when one male hold this position, also equiv female hold office
(not necessarily dealing w/ women’s issues) – seen more in east Africa – ie. Nigeria
3) Stateless/Acephalous – no one single, recognized power in whom political power is
vested. Instead, council of elders and other personalities. Elders council, advisory.
No openly recognized political power for women in stateless communities. However,