White Man's Country & Mau Mau

These are the first two films of a British documentary series (Kenyatta is the third film), “Black Man's Land: Images of Colonialism and Independence in Kenya,” produced by Anthony Howarth and David Koff, narrated by Musindo Mwinyipembe. (David Koff and Musindo Mwinyipembe are director and producer of the more recent and controversial study of racism in England, Blacks Britannica.) Writing on the entire series, San Francisco Chronicle critic Judy Stone noted: “A treasure store of old stills, buried newsreels, and contemporary interviews, supported by meticulous research and synthesized with the most sensitive acumen... a unique record of what colonialism means in human terms.”

Part One, White Man's Country, records the violent origins of colonial rule, the white settlement in Africa and the African resistance, covering the period from the late 19th century, with the systematic creation of an overseer paradise in East Africa for the European, to the “Thuku Massacre” of 1922.

Part Two, Mau Mau, is a political analysis of Africa's first modern guerrilla war, and the myths created by the white man which still surround it. The film skillfully sets the historical record straight, documenting how the government's declaration of The Emergency and pursuant actions - arrests without trial, etc. - turned the Africans' smoldering grievances into open rebellion: during the '50s, white news reports stressed the Mau Mau's anti-white character, 32 white settlers were killed by Africans; 80% of the 15,000 Africans who died during this period were killed by government troops enforcing The Emergency.

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