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  • Mau Mau Uprising: Bloodshed for Kenyan Freedom

    Is there an African nation without bloodshed for freedom? The Mau Mau Uprising is another African history relating to the national activist movement for freedom in Kenya. It was a bloody war of liberation that lasted from 1952 to 1963 and is said to be the foundation of Kenyan independence. The British saw Kenya as a vital resource due to its abundant natural resource, fertile farmlands and some credulous locals. These credulous locals served as puppets and facilitated British access to every area of Kenya. They were able to settle down and rule as a result. They denied citizens the right to cultivate lucrative farmlands, access to justice, and subjected them to abhorrent labour conditions and brutal punishments. There were also impartial decisions that resulted in sexual assaults, slavery, or death by hanging or sword. Of course, no one with ‘conscience’ would bear the sight of the gruesome murder, displacement and torture of their people. These Kenyans saw that their only path to freedom could not be achieved through peaceful means but through violence and this laid the foundation of the bloody war of liberation. The Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA) was then formed by some insurgents, led by Dedan Kimathi, a hero in the pages of African history. It is important to note that the Mau Mau Uprising was initially a student movement before it became a national movement. Kimathi inspired his people that rather than live on their knees with fear of colonial rule, they should die fighting for freedom. They started first by killing about 2000 Kenyans whose allegiance was to the colonial masters and poisoned cattle owned by anyone deemed their opposition. Gradually, they began to attack small British territories to sound notes of warnings. The British Governor, Evelyn Baring, then declared a state of emergency and the arrest of any inhabitant causing problems. This was to suppress the rebellions of the KLFA. The declaration was launched by Operation Jock Scott where Jomo Kenyatta (who later became Kenya's first president) and over 137 people were captured. Some African political leaders were also arrested as they were perceived as suspects while some members fled for their lives. About 1000 death sentences and 7500 arrests were recorded during this state of emergency. On seeing the perseverance of the KLFA, the British implored measures to suppress the movement. They stormed the city of Nairobi, as it was the base of the majority of the Mau Mau, particularly the Kikuyu tribe, and dropped over 6 million bombs. This act displaced up to 50,000 inhabitants. Another army of about 3,000 troops was released to distant villages and forests to wipe out hesitant Kenyans. This was because the British perceived these places would be hideouts to their opposition. However, they were still not satisfied with these measures. They created detention camps to separate the rebels and carried out inhumane actions such as forbidding talking publicly, separating family members, and shuffling prisoners among cells. The detainees were used as forced labour and were left with little food and water, leading to the disease outbreak. Consequently, this caused the death of about 50,000 children and many adults. Those whom the British saw to be stronger were made to live in places enclosed with barbed wires with very tight security. All these were done out of fear of rebellion and violence. We would say that the British were a tad successful in their attempts as it led to the division between the Kenyans: the Loyalists and the Punitive (as described by the British). The Loyalists were those who pledged allegiance to the Whites so that they could eat well and enjoy the right to live while the Punitives were the hesitant citizens. Dedan Kimathi and some of his supporters were caught on October 21,1956 and subjected to four trials. They were executed by hanging on February 18,1957. Kimathi's last words to his wife were, “I have no doubt in my mind that the British are determined to execute me. I have committed no crime. My only crime is that I am a Kenyan revolutionary who led a liberation army. Now, if I must leave you and my family, I have nothing to regret about. My blood will water the tree of Independence.” Indeed, Kimathi was right. The uprising was a major fundamental cause of the Independence of Kenya. It is recorded that about 11,503 KLFA members were killed. The capture of major leaders decapitated the remaining members of the KLFA. This marked the defeat of the Mau Mau Rebellion. Slowly, the British overcame the fear of being overthrown but they put in some reforms to maintain authority. Agrarian sectors were made open to the inhabitants, wages were increased, seized lands were restored and political freedom was granted to a few. In the end, the uprising was not in vain. Thus, October 20 was declared Heroes' Day in Kenya to honour the people that laid the foundation for their freedom.

  • Maasai: Power in the Blood

    The Maasai are an ethnic group who inhabit Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. A semi-nomadic group, they are one of the most popular locals in the world, not least because they dwell close to the African game parks but because of their peculiar dress, customs and food. Yes! The traditional diet of the Maasai is indeed peculiar. This diet solely derives from cattle although It would surprise you that they seldom eat beef nor kill their cows in order to feed. Instead, they have mastered the art of harvesting blood from cows by puncturing the loose flesh in the cows neck with an arrow and inserting a bamboo in the jugular. This lets the cow bleed but it only takes a few days for it to heal. Interesting, right? While there have been stories that some locals drink cow blood in order to pull through certain austere situations like famine. Still, the Maasai ultimately eat blood as a meal for special celebrations such as weddings, circumcisions; for ritual purposes and for healing purposes. Also used to assuage inebriation, it could be drunk fresh after its been drawn, used as an ingredient in cooking other dishes or mixed with milk. The taste has been described as thick, salty, sweet, and even “steaky” with a film on the surface after collection. It should also be noted that although other Kenyan groups have better adapted to modern times and its attendant influences, the Maasai have persisted and maintained their tradition. Nevertheless, beyond this both ordinary and sacred food – cattle blood, the Maasai have been able to incorporate into their diet others as tubers, honey, vegetables, cornmeal and barks of trees. With bright red robes that are eye-catching, a spear in hand and an unassuming demeanour, this group are courageous, calm and no less humane. The latter, perhaps, accounts for why they opt for bloodletting. Or else, cattle function as a marker of status so it is beneficial to keep a large herd size – hence the proclivity to keep the animals alive. One thing that is sure though is that this peculiar meal serves both cultural, physical and spiritual purposes. For the Maasai, there is indeed power in the blood.

  • Kumbwada: Where Women Rule

    Have you ever heard of an exceptional kingdom where women rule? A kingdom where it is impossible for men to ascend the throne? A kingdom that defies the norm? Kumbwada is an ancient kingdom with a population of about 33,000 people which is located in Niger, a state in the Northern part of Nigeria. Although its dusty, undulating roads, temperate climate and brief, irregular rain remain typical of the region, its dominion and domination by women since its inception till this very day defy the Northern traditional Islamic practice which bars women from ruling. This anomaly arises as a result of an ancient curse placed on the throne that any man who ascends the throne would die mysteriously. Aminu Abubakar, quoting the current female monarch, reports: The curse of Kumbwada kingdom started over two centuries ago when the warrior Princess Magajiya Maimuna led her cavalry from Zaria, a town to the north and conquered the kingdom. After the conquest Maimuna decided to leave her brother…as ruler but he fell sick and died within a week. The same thing happened with her second brother and in the end she decided to stay herself and she ruled for 83 years… The last man who dared to defy this curse, the father of the current queen: Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed, had no sooner thought it than he failed. Echoing the queen, Robyn Dixon relays: There has never been a male ruler… Even my father just voiced his desire to be chief, but it almost killed him. As soon as he made his intentions known, Prince Amadu Kumbwada became mysteriously Ill and had to be taken to another kingdom to recuperate. He never returned to Kumbwada. The kingdom of Kumbwada has been ruled by women for six successive years. Before Queen Hajiya Haidzatu’s reign, her grandmother was on the throne for 73 years. She died when she was 113. And barring any unforeseen circumstances, the queens daughter, Idris, would take her mother’s place when the time comes. Where men have failed in other places, the Queen of Kumbwada has risen to the task; she does not only know her kingdom backwards and forwards, but has also kept the peace. She handles issues as domestic as domestic violence, marriage scuffles, petty violence, theft accusations, land disputes as well as issues as consequential as societal education – especially that of women. While it has been mooted that there is some sort of black magic going on in this kingdom which ensures men’s abstinence from the throne, a claim which, if ever found valid, would be a grave offense under the conservative Islamic lenses that thrives in Northern Nigeria, the fact remains that the queen’s subjects – both men, women and children – adore her. Black magic or not, she discharges her duty as a mother, a wife and most importantly as a leader. She prescribes her percipience like drugs and whispers sound judgments to a people who obey. These residents get their fix, basking in satisfactory waves of her well-thought rulings. “Where men fail, let women try”, the people of this unique kingdom concede.

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  • Volunteer | Oriire

    Volunteer Oriire is always looking for volunteers to help us carry on our work. We specifically need people who have an interest in African history, myth and food. ​ Volunteers can assist us in many different capacities including but not limited to: Content Creation (Images, copy and video) Research Community Management Audio & Video Editing Social Media Management Marketing & Promotion ​ If there are any areas not covered above that you may be able to assist with, please apply. Any feeding & travel expenses incurred during the course of volunteering will be covered. ​ Please fill the form below to apply and we will get back to you if your application is successful. ​ A CV and cover letter will be required. ​ In the cover letter, please touch on the following: Why you want to work with Oriire What your opinion is on Oriire's content and mission Specific areas you believe you can assist Oriire with ​ Thank you very much. ​ ​ ​

  • African Heritage | Oriire

    The Oriire Podcast The podcast that tells African stories Listen Sep 21, 2021 The Tale of Anansi and Nothing NEAR Anansi's miserable little hut there was a fine palace where lived a very rich man called Nothing. Nothing and Anansi proposed, one... Jun 28, 2021 Sàngó And His Wives Sàngó, also known as Changó or Xangô in Latin America; and as Jakuta or Badé is an Orisha, a deity in Yoruba religion. He is a royal... 4 days ago Oriire - Call for Submissions Myths, legends, magic and masquerades, folktales and fables, spells, spirits, spooky tales, spilling the tea – Oriire is seeking... Nov 12, 2021 Calling Time: Harmful Traditional Practices in Africa and the Need for Change Breast Ironing is the forceful flattening, massaging or pounding of pubescent girl’s breasts in order to mar their growth or try to make the Follow us on social media We're Telling African stories Oriire spotlights history, mythology and food from different African Cultures and across the diaspora. Podcast Articles Community Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Sep 21, 2021 3 min The Tale of Anansi and Nothing NEAR Anansi's miserable little hut there was a fine palace where lived a very rich man called Nothing. Nothing and Anansi proposed, one... Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Jun 28, 2021 4 min Sàngó And His Wives Sàngó, also known as Changó or Xangô in Latin America; and as Jakuta or Badé is an Orisha, a deity in Yoruba religion. He is a royal... Chionye Lois Jun 16, 2021 6 min Conversations With A Mermaid The moonlit night carried the scent of wet earth. Soggy leaves were trampled underneath my mud-stained sneakers as I walked through an... Ogbonna Humble May 19, 2021 5 min Born Different The cry of a new child filled the air, everyone was happy at the arrival of this precious little life, however when they came out after... Oluwaseun Beatrice Wende Apr 30, 2021 8 min Raffia On Fire She was not the vain nor jealous type; Moremi liked to tell herself. In fact, she could be less concerned about the state of her beauty,... Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Apr 19, 2021 4 min The Ugandan Law Concerning Fortune-Tellers Once upon a time there was a woman who had a beautiful daughter whom she loved very much, and she was very anxious that she should find a... Fikayo Adeniyi Apr 14, 2021 6 min Death and The King ‘Do you want to hear a story?’ Damisi looked at his cousin with dull eyes. He wasn't sure if his cousin was oblivious to their current... Bisi Akintomide Apr 11, 2021 7 min The Tale of a Mystery Mat Growing up, I heard tales of the famous Bush Baby from the older boys in my village that attended the only boarding school in the whole... Myth Monthly Challenge Participate in our monthly challenge and show off your knowledge or learn something new. See More Submit Content Oriire is accepting submissions. We are especially interested in content which relates to African history, myth and food. See How Upcoming Events Don't miss out on any of our upcoming events. Follow us on social media so you don't miss any announcements Follow Us History Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Jan 19 3 min Traditional Marriage in Hausa Land in case you intend to marry a Northern-Nigerian beauty of Hausa origins, these are the information you must be familiar with, winks! Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Nov 12, 2021 6 min Calling Time: Harmful Traditional Practices in Africa and the Need for Change Breast Ironing is the forceful flattening, massaging or pounding of pubescent girl’s breasts in order to mar their growth or try to make the Olanrewaju Adesunloro Aug 12, 2021 3 min Òrìsà: The Forgotten Heroes The first time I heard about Oduduwa is still vividly emblazoned in my mind. I was a little boy of 7. Yet, what unfolded right in front... Oluwaseun Beatrice Wende Apr 30, 2021 8 min Raffia On Fire She was not the vain nor jealous type; Moremi liked to tell herself. In fact, she could be less concerned about the state of her beauty,... Rachael Bassey Mar 23, 2021 3 min Essay on The Deities of Efik Tradition: Ndem Efik Ebrutu Efik history traces the origin of Ndem worship to their god’s basin (usan Abasi) which tradition says was a sacred companion of the Iboku... Ifeoluwa Egbetade Mar 12, 2021 8 min A Journey into African Myths: Our Thought Systems and Relevance to Science. (Literary Comp Winner) “A man cannot live without myths” – Paulin Houndtonji. “That night, the Mother of the Spirits walked the length and breadth of the clan,... Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Mar 8, 2021 4 min Aba Women's War Pioneered by women from the Owerri and Calabar provinces of south-eastern Nigeria, the “Women’s War” in Igbo history or the “Aba Women’s... Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Mar 4, 2021 15 min Revisiting Fictions on Pre-literate Africa Disturbing the Paradise The advent of the European world left Africa with little or no choice. It was indeed a brutal condition of either... Food Fashoyin Adebiyi Abimbola Feb 2 3 min Banga Soup Nigeria is famous for mouth-watering delicacies. There is hardly anyone who has not heard about Naija’s party Jollof or the wonderful Efo... Fashoyin Adebiyi Abimbola Dec 25, 2021 4 min Four Native Dishes To Try Out This Christmas Yes, the title is a pun on the fantastic four, but I didn’t need to point it out; you already knew that. You also know that man shall not... Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade May 8, 2021 5 min Àkàrà-Acaraje: Unravelling Nigerian-Brazilian Culinary Ties The transatlantic slave trade created wild cultural coexistence in many places of the world and indeed in the Americas. In fact, entering... Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Mar 18, 2021 6 min Esunsun: A Tale of Edible Insects The petrichor trashed the roof of my nose as I stepped out of the house. The fluency of the rain had been by fits and starts until that... Oriire Mar 08 Share your thoughts on Àkàrà and its Brazilian Counterpart: Acaraje Oriire Mar 08 Let's talk about folktales Oriire Mar 08 Share your thoughts on Àkàrà and its Brazilian Counterpart: Acaraje Oriire Mar 08 Let's talk about folktales Oriire Mar 08 What is your favourite traditional proverb? Watch more videos on our YouTube channel Watch

  • About | Oriire

    The Heritage Site Oriire was created as a platform to celebrate African mythology, history and food. Our intention is to foster a community interested in actively preserving and promoting African history. ​ Everyone interested in African history is welcome! Please join the conversation, contribute your stories, history and recipes and celebrate African heritage. ​ We have regular events both for education and for fun! We want to publicise our African heritage as much as possible for Africans at home and those in the diaspora. The Team Sesi Zamba Founder; Editor in Chief & Podcast Co-host Haleemah Atobiloye Lead Researcher & Podcast Co-host Imisioluwa Ogunsunlade Creative Co-ordinator & Editor

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