Muthoni wa Kirima attained the rank of Field Marshal in the Mau Mau Land and Freedom Army.
She entered the Aberdare Forest in 1952 and was never caught, although she still has a bullet lodged in her hand.
She was nicknamed “Nina wa Thonjo” (weaver bird) by Dedan Kimathi because of her ability to weave brilliant war strategies.
She was one of the last Mau Mau who laid down their arms at the flag of free Kenya at Ruringu stadium in 1963, where she met Jomo Kenyatta.
She still has the same dreadlocks she had when fighting in the forest, which she calls “the history of Kenya.”
They are a symbol of her dissatisfaction with the new governments and she vows only to cut them when the deserved compensation is given to the Mau Mau veterans.
“I emerged from the forest after eleven years but was never given even an inch of land. I have nothing to show for those eleven years, not even a needle.
It was only the sons of the supporters of the white men who benefited from the blood and sweat of our battered bodies.”
“I am still in the forest,” she says. She wants the “protruding bones of fallen heroes in shallow graves in Mt Kenya forests” collected and buried honorably.
“The bones of my fellow freedom fighters are, like me, crying in the forests. We ventured into the forests to free the country from the grip of the white settlers.
We thought that those we left behind schooling would fight for us, but things turned out differently.”
The erasure of Muthoni and others like her from Kenya’s history books depresses her as she sites how unfortunate it is that “only white people” visit her inquiring about her story.
This is from a research project by Max Pinckers entitled “Unhistories: Kenya Mau Mau Resistance, Mass Graves and Compensation” published on the Elephant website.
Those words from the Muthoni are painful to every Kenyan.
These people fought for our country and gave it everything they had including their lives and our country treats the survivors like they don’t even exist.
It is unacceptable. It is just so wrong.
Let’s fix it even without going into the history of it all.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada