Let’s Talk About Collective Agikuyu Trauma

Today has been a particularly emotional day. I am currently reading two books concurrently, that’s Facing Mount Kenya and Maina wa Kinyatti’s Agikuyu:Waiyaki, Kimathi,Kenyatta.

Both are heavy reads because I am coming into the reality of what happened to my ancestors, the Agikuyu people. Reading British Gulag gave me nightmares for about a week, because it graphically captured the atrocities the British invaders and their African stooges did. The thought that my being alive is a miracle based on the horrors of the numbers murdered is something my brain hasn’t come to terms with to date. That coupled with the fact their was scarcity of food so a lot of children died due to malnutrition. So when I see people talking casually about we need to go into war, I sigh at the ignorance. But don’t blame much this days, sigh, unnecessary conundrums.

And then I went on a interview spree (still am) of any elder I could come across and they confirmed most of what I have read up. There is a place in Nyeri called Kinunga which I learned it’s named so because the place at some point was full of decaying bodies of our ancestors murdered during the state of emergency war. Kinunga is a derivative of the word nunga which can loosely be translated as stench.

Kikuyu as a people were first destroyed psychologically, spiritually, mentally, then they came for their bodies when they no longer could fight them from a cultural genocide angle. Let’s not forget the British murderer Richard Meinertzhagen who had already began the genocide earlier so that he could pave the way for the rest of the invaders. He gives his account so casually in his book you would think he is talking about ridding the world of some annoying pests. But no, he is talking about my ancestors. They murdered and destroyed my ancestors and we are supposed to just sweep all that under the umbrella of turn the other cheek, love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you and pray for those who persecute you.

This is pain. I speak from a place of pain. This blood has not been accounted for. No this is not in the past. Central Kenya has the highest rates of every dysfunction. Addiction. Cancer. Non-communicable diseases. Divorce. Intimate partner violence. When did all this begin? British Gulag, the book, says street children and prostitution began with the state of emergency, that was sunctioned 20th October,1952. Families being torn apart, to date some cannot account for their family members. There’s people still living in the colonial reserves, some likely will never break the hold of poverty that was forced on them. So tell me again how we are one happy people and that we have moved on when our bodies and communities tell a different story.

What is the use of a government that cannot give it’s people a space to heal but rather burdens them with more pain by perpetuating the legacy of colonization. But somehow thinks by some magic it will heal and have a healthy people in some imaginary future? Have you seen what the statistics are telling us about the youth and their state of wellness?

What is the use of all this so called aspirations and visions bla bla bla that doesn’t factor the wounds it’s people carry. That has refused to acknowledge in a meaningful way the pain from our past and pretends and coddles with the afflictors of this pain. But hopes by some magic we shall overcome?

We are not OKAY. We cannot prayer breakfast these issues away. We cannot commission of inquiry this issues away. We cannot taskforce to look into this away. We cannot BBI this issues away. It’s time to adult and start addressing our collective trauma as a nation and stop handing over dysfunction to future generations. Unless we are on an extinction protocol that some of us did not get a memo for. But everything about our reality is screaming it….. Pain


Please use this for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for seeking out professional help. The views expressed here in are  from my personal experiences as well as from those I have interacted with. And while one may resonate with what is shared, it’s not a substitute for appreciating your own unique personal experience. Always do your own research and due deligence on any topic to guard against being hoodwinked

Published by nasewangari

Clinical Psychologist| Humanist| Great passion for demystifying and decolonizing mental health

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