Kenya

Dedan Kimathi anniversary: Nyeri honours Kenyan hero

Dedan Kimathi anniversary: Nyeri honours Kenyan hero
  • Today (February 18), Kenya marks the 63rd anniversary of his death.
  • Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga will lead the annual celebrations where thousands are expected to attend.

On this day back in 1957, the lifeless body of Dedan Kimathi, the bold, fearless leader of the Mau Mau war, was wheeled out of the hangman’s chamber with a noose around his neck.

As he was being buried in an unmarked grave, the British government and settlers took to the streets to celebrate the death of a ''terrorist'' and the peace that was to follow.

To them, his death meant the end of the war. The Africans had been defeated.

Today (February 18), Kenya marks the 63rd anniversary of his death and the Nyeri county government is holding an event at Karuna-ini in Tetu where the independence war hero was shot and arrested.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga will lead the annual celebrations where thousands are expected to attend.

More than six decades later, the memory of Kimathi has been immortalised into Kenya’s psyche through the erection of a life-size statue in his honour at his home area.

Mukami Kimathi, the widow of Dedan Kimathi,
Mukami Kimathi, the widow of Dedan Kimathi, weeps after receiving her husband's case file from former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga at the Supreme Court on March 17, 2016. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Barely a few metres from where he was captured 63 years ago stands a five-metre statue in his honour.

The County Government of Nyeri has marked the site by putting up a monument whose height is 6 ft 1 inch with a 3D face view, clothed in military attire and boots, and whose hair is twisted in dreadlocks crown, holds a rifle in the right hand, a dagger in his left, and a gun on the hip.

Coloured in green and yellow paint, the monument has three sets of staircases that are meant to access the top of the monument.

It is situated at the ditch where he was shot in the thigh by two home guards and then captured.

The 12 feet wide ditch had been sunk to deter contact between the Mau Mau fighters and villagers. He was on his way back when he was spotted.

Kimathi was born on October 31, 1920 in Karuna-ini Village, Tetu Sub-County, Nyeri County.

Before joining forces with the Mau Mau, he had worked as a teacher at Karuna-ini Primary School, currently Kimathi Secondary School.

Previously, he worked as a milk clerk and a farm manager at Morgan’s farm in Wanjohi, Nyandarua County.