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BEROSE ENCYCLOPAEDIA

Kenyatta, Jomo (c. 1895-1978)

Born around 1895 in southern Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta (c. 1895-1978) or Kamau wa Ngengi (his name from his youth) is a Kenyan ethnologist, pan-African activist and politician. As a representative of an association defending the land interests of the Kikuyu dispossessed by the white settlers, he went to London in 1929. He remained in Europe until 1946, meeting more and more with the English-speaking and anti-colonial intelligentsia. In 1938, he published Facing Mount Kenya, The Traditional Life of the Gikuyu, a book based on a master’s degree in anthropology under the supervision of Bronislaw Malinowski. It is the first ethnological monograph on his people by a colonial subject. A hero of Kenyan decolonization, he became the first president of the newly independent country from 1964 until his death in 1978.

Keywords: Social and cultural anthropology | Ethnology | British colonialism | Pan-Africanism | Anticolonialism | Kenya | Kikuyu | Bronislaw Malinowski