From the January-February 2015 issue of News & Letters
Celebrating 60 years of News & Letters…
Reprinted from the first issue of News & Letters June 24, 1955
Njeri is an African woman. Her home is in Kenya, a country in East Africa, which has been in the grip of civil war for almost three years. The civil war was started by the British authorities when they declared an Emergency in October 1952, because the people of Kenya were trying to help themselves. They want their rights as human beings, which the minority of white settlers had taken from them.
Njeri is a woman of about 53 or 54. Like Harriet Tubman during our own Civil War, she cannot read or write legibly. She is in a prison camp with about 9,000 other African women. She has been very badly treated and everybody thought she was going to die.
This remarkable woman founded the first independent women’s movement in East Africa. She started her work in 1940 when, independently of any men, she organized African women to establish, at the Kenya Teachers College, facilities for girls to equal those enjoyed by the boys. But there is more behind the African women’s movement than this. Much more. It is not simply for equality with African men. It is for equality as Africans in relation to anyone else in the world.
Njeri’s story, and the story of the people of Kenya, is told by Mbiyu Koinange, in THE PEOPLE OF KENYA SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, which is dedicated to her.