• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Introduction
 General mental characteristics...
 The African in transition
 Mau Mau
 Discussion and recommendations
 Reference
 Synopsis






Title: The psychology of Mau Mau
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00023305/00001
 Material Information
Title: The psychology of Mau Mau
Physical Description: 35 p. : ; 25 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Carothers, John Colin
Publisher: Printed at the Govt. printer
Place of Publication: Nairobi
Publication Date: 1954
 Subjects
Subject: Mau Mau   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00023305
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: African Studies Collections in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000716949
notis - ADQ9120
lccn - 55036623

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 1
    General mental characteristics of untouched rural Africans
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    The African in transition
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Mau Mau
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Discussion and recommendations
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Reference
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Synopsis
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
Full Text











COLONY AND PROTECTORATE OF KENYA










THE PSYCHOLOGY OF

MAU MAU


By

DR. J. C. CAROTHERS, M.B., D.P.M.






This Report is published for information, but has not
yet been considered by Government.






[8TH IMPRESSION]





1955
PRINTED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER, NAIROBI
Price: Cis. 50














THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MAU MAU
By
Dr. J. C. Carothers, M.B., D.P.M.

INTRODUCTION
This report is produced in response to a request to see how far some
experience in Africa and some knowledge of pyschology and psychiatry might
throw light on the Mau Mau movement in this Colony and might point the way
to solutions of this problem, viewed in both its immediate and long-term aspects.
Since many other persons have made and are making their valuable contri-
butions on this subject, it was necessary to decide what design for this report was
most likely to be fruitful and most likely to fill a gap that might be left by other
workers. The question is here approached, accordingly, on lines that run from the
general to the particular and, in time, from past to present and to future, in the
hope that this may provide some helpful pointers for those (such as the
Committee to Inquire into the Sociological Causes and Remedies for Mau Mau),
who are already so constructively engaged in examining this problem.
The report that follows therefore consists of four chapters: the first being
a study of indigenous African psychology with special reference to certain Kenya
tribes; the second a study of African psychology in transition between the old
ways and the new, again with special reference to these tribes; the third a study
of the Mau Mau movement; and the fourth a discussion of the problem in its
inter-racial aspects and some recommendations that arise from this.
My personal competence for writing this report is limited in various ways,
and especially in that I have had, in this two-months' assignment, to acquaint
myself with so much which is strange and new, and which has happened in the
four years since I left the Colony. I have endeavoured to remedy this defect by
viewing the countryside in many aspects and interviewing many people, and have
travelled with these objects to many parts of the Central, the Rift Valley, the
Southern and the Coastal Provinces.
I beg to thank Sir Charles Mortimer, Dr. T. F. Anderson, and Dr. A. R.
Paterson for the parts they have played in giving me this opportunity to work
again for Kenya. I beg to thank Dr. L. Milligan and my colleagues on the medical
staff of St. James Hospital, Portsmouth, for so helpfully releasing me to do this
work.
I cannot hope to thank, as individuals, the several scores of Kenya people
who have so willingly assisted me in this inquiry. Nor, in the case of many
Africans, might it be in their interests to do so. But to all of these I have to say
that, although I take full personal responsibility for any views expressed, any
merits this report may have are mainly due to the effective picking of other
people's brains.
CHAPTER I-GENERAL MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF
UNTOUCHED RURAL AFRICANS
The present writer recently produced a monograph in which he epitomized
the observations and thoughts of many writers on the subject of African mentality
in general and, since much of what he wrote seems to be relevant to the present
situation in Kenya, it is considered important first to summarize those findings
in so far as they are relevant to that situation.














THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MAU MAU
By
Dr. J. C. Carothers, M.B., D.P.M.

INTRODUCTION
This report is produced in response to a request to see how far some
experience in Africa and some knowledge of pyschology and psychiatry might
throw light on the Mau Mau movement in this Colony and might point the way
to solutions of this problem, viewed in both its immediate and long-term aspects.
Since many other persons have made and are making their valuable contri-
butions on this subject, it was necessary to decide what design for this report was
most likely to be fruitful and most likely to fill a gap that might be left by other
workers. The question is here approached, accordingly, on lines that run from the
general to the particular and, in time, from past to present and to future, in the
hope that this may provide some helpful pointers for those (such as the
Committee to Inquire into the Sociological Causes and Remedies for Mau Mau),
who are already so constructively engaged in examining this problem.
The report that follows therefore consists of four chapters: the first being
a study of indigenous African psychology with special reference to certain Kenya
tribes; the second a study of African psychology in transition between the old
ways and the new, again with special reference to these tribes; the third a study
of the Mau Mau movement; and the fourth a discussion of the problem in its
inter-racial aspects and some recommendations that arise from this.
My personal competence for writing this report is limited in various ways,
and especially in that I have had, in this two-months' assignment, to acquaint
myself with so much which is strange and new, and which has happened in the
four years since I left the Colony. I have endeavoured to remedy this defect by
viewing the countryside in many aspects and interviewing many people, and have
travelled with these objects to many parts of the Central, the Rift Valley, the
Southern and the Coastal Provinces.
I beg to thank Sir Charles Mortimer, Dr. T. F. Anderson, and Dr. A. R.
Paterson for the parts they have played in giving me this opportunity to work
again for Kenya. I beg to thank Dr. L. Milligan and my colleagues on the medical
staff of St. James Hospital, Portsmouth, for so helpfully releasing me to do this
work.
I cannot hope to thank, as individuals, the several scores of Kenya people
who have so willingly assisted me in this inquiry. Nor, in the case of many
Africans, might it be in their interests to do so. But to all of these I have to say
that, although I take full personal responsibility for any views expressed, any
merits this report may have are mainly due to the effective picking of other
people's brains.
CHAPTER I-GENERAL MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF
UNTOUCHED RURAL AFRICANS
The present writer recently produced a monograph in which he epitomized
the observations and thoughts of many writers on the subject of African mentality
in general and, since much of what he wrote seems to be relevant to the present
situation in Kenya, it is considered important first to summarize those findings
in so far as they are relevant to that situation.









2

Before proceeding to this summary, however, two questions must be asked
and answered: (1) Are there any general mental characteristics of such Africans?
and (2) Are there any untouched rural Africans?
In regard to the first question, it has become increasingly clear in recent
years that no fundamental differences between different groups of Africans. or
even between Africans and Europeans, have yet been demonstrated. It is possible
that intrinsic differences do exist but, if so, they are probably quite slight and
at present undiscoverable. Individuals vary in their innate emotional and
intellectual potentials, as every parent knows. But in large populations, these
differences cancel out. The manifest differences that do exist as between Europeans
and Africans, and which have been described by many writers, can be well
explained on the -basis of experience, of environmental factors. The chief
environmental factors that account for the observed diversities are climatic,
infective, nutritional and cultural. Of these, the last is overwhelmingly important,
and in general it can be said that the minds of men (unlike their bodies) are mainly
products of their cultures. Studies of cultures are, in effect, studies of psychology.
There are in Africa, not one, but many cultures. Each tribe has unique
customs. Nevertheless, there are throughout Africa, south of the Sahara, certain
-common cultural characters (characters which indigenous Africans largely share
with other pre-literate peoples, but which are strange to modern western
Europeans) which must condition their mentality as adults on characteristic lines.
In regard to the second question, few Africans to-day are quite untouched
by alien influences, and those who are untouched are, by definition, not amenable
to scrutiny by Europeans. Nevertheless, the indigenous cultural modes have not
been quite forgotten and indeed still largely permeate the lives of many people
who at first sight seem totally detribalized; so that some exposition of this general
background is highly necessary for the understanding of Africans to-day, at least
in Kenya. In so far as Kikuyu patterns of life differed from the general pattern,
an attempt will be made to enlarge on this at the end of the chapter.
In general it seems that pre-literate cultures have developed very gradually
in the course of many centuries, and probably over many thousands of years, and
that they have developed on such lines as to enable men to live together in
groups without internal strife. In effect their machinery is built on the assumption
that man is a selfish beast whose natural desires must be rigidly curtailed by
meticulous rules. Although these rules are, in action, socially integrative (within
the group), their origins and meanings are often lost in the shadows of antiquity,
and their presentation to the individual from infancy onwards is empirical and
coercive-seldom reasonable. As far as explanation is forthcoming, it is on
magical and animistic lines, so that superficial resemblances connote identity and
events occur by reason of some inner "will" in these events, as is the rule in
European children's thinking. Although in Europe such modes of thinking are
encouraged in early childhood, they soon give way to more meaningful approaches
to life's problems, and the child is encouraged throughout his later schooling to
think things out for himself on the basis of some general principles, and, if he is
to be at all successful, he ultimately achieves a unique personal integration of
his experience and a sense of continuing personal responsibility. Whereas in
Africa natural curiosity was effectively stifled. Animistic explanations are too
facile and too final, and frustrate man's urge to speculation. So that the individual
remains relatively unintegrate-an assemblage of memorized and disparate rules.
Reflection, foresight and responsibility are rather components of his culture than
of himself; misfortunes are never wholly his own fault.
Life in Africa was highly insecure, but the individual did achieve some inner
sense of personal security by adherence, and only by adherence, to the traditional











rules-rules which received their sanction and most of their force from the
"will" of ancestors whose spirits were conceived as powerful and as maintaining
their attachment to the land. There were fears, of course, and misfortunes were
almost the order of the day, but even these were seldom without precedent and
for each of these there were prescribed behaviour patterns which satisfied the
urge to action. So that the African achieved a measure of stability and, within his
group and while at home, was courteous, socially self-confident and, in effect,
a social being. But this stability was maintained solely by the continuing support
afforded by his culture arid by the prompt suppression of initiative.
Related to the lack of conscious personal integration, there is, in Ritchie's
words, an inability to "look critically at himself and the world and see that
neither the goodness nor the badness is absolute, and accept himself and the world
for the mixture of potential good and potential bad that everyone and everything
really is". He tends, in fact, to oscillate between the conviction that events are
wholly good and the conviction that they are wholly evil. But since, in so far as
the outer world impinges upon consciousness, it is usually in the form of misfor-
tune, that world when recognized is usually regarded as essentially malevolent.
God, the good and loving, seen (in this context) as the personification of an orderly
protecting principle is something rather abstract and remote; good fortune is taken
for granted and, in any case, is hardly to be admitted lest worse befall. Adversity
is much more vivid and the world outside oneself is only too apt to be seen as
full of evil "wills", which are much more real than God and ever waiting to
pounce on the unwary.
In Raum's words, the African "child becomes conditioned to a morality
whose demands become less stringent the remoter they are from the 'initial
situation' of the family". So that without the tribal group or in one's dealings with
outsiders who have been seen as evil, the traditional rules not only have no
application but are positively incorrect. The outsider has no rights and, if that
outsider has inspired fear and hate, the vilest of behaviour is appropriate. It is
an inevitable component of the type of psychology described that, where there
are no specific rules, behaviour can be governed wholly by the emotions of the
moment. The present writer sees no reason to believe that man, either European
or African, comes into this world with any basic urge to cruelty; what he becomes.
(when one is concerned with populations and not with individuals) is almost
wholly what is made of him. But in indigenous African experience, life was cheap
and full of fear. Only too often one's own life was only saved by violence, and
the sacrifice of helpless creatures (animal or human) must have been'a familiar
experience even in the lives of children. So that, in the hierarchy of "power"
which was the background of the African attitude to life, the dangerously
powerful or the wholly powerless inspired behaviour patterns which were the
converse of those patterns that normally applied within the group.
It is implicit in the type of psychology described that anxiety cannot be
sustained for long. The sustainment of anxiety depends on the development of a
personal mental integration in which all elements of one's situation-past, present
and future-are assessed and reconciled in such a fashion that one's immediate
desires can be subjugated to one's long-term interests; on the development of a
personal synthesis based on some general principles. In the absence of this
development and where the anxiety cannot be allayed by ritual procedures, action
must follow. And this action in individuals often takes forms which are marked
by the highest degree of unconstraint and violence-a common experience in
psychiatric practice in Africa.
The next point is a general one and not directly related to the African as
- such. But it is highly relevant here. There are in all societies (European. African











and other) a large number of unstable, emotional, aggressive people who are a
constant menace to society. In Europe, they spend much of their lives in
institutions (mental hospitals, prisons, etc.). It is safe to assume that, in a land
like Kenya, where such institutions are a relatively recent innovation and as yet
of limited accommodation, far more of these people live at large than is the
case in more developed countries.

The question of religion next requires consideration-a thorny question since,
both in regard to verbal and practical aspects of the problem, there is disagreement
of opinion. There is in African life no sharp distinction between patterns of
thinking and behaviour which Europeans would describe as religious and patterns
of these which the latter would describe as magical and animistic. Perhaps the
position can be best expressed by saying that, if religion is definable as a feeling
of awe related to some mysterious Power which in some way represents and
personalizes the right behaviour patterns within the group and supports or can
be prevailed on to support the group, then religion permeates life in some degree
in most, if not all, African societies, and indeed is probably fundamental to such
sense of security as exists in Africa. This positive source of personal security
depended, however, solely on and found its expression solely in particular social
contexts; it existed solely in relation to the local group and to the latter's land.

The sense of security of modern western Europeans is based primarily, when
they are fortunate, on the sustained affection of their parents; and secondarily, on
the inculcation in childhood of certain general principles and beliefs of which the
chief have been the Christian ones. Modern European civilization has been erected,
historically, on that foundation and the lives of Europeans to-day are also founded,
far more than they often realize, on concepts which are really Christian. On the
basis of these concepts, one can later build a balanced understanding of oneself
and of the world; an understanding which is not afraid to see the weakness in
oneself, for one can also see the strength; an understanding which enables one to
view events as governed by forces which are indifferent to oneself and not by
"wills" that love or hate one; an understanding which need not be grossly under-
mined by living among alien peoples.

Finally, it has to be said that the above description of indigenous African
psychology is concerned with peculiarities as compared with Europeans. The
difference is not absolute, but relative. Such thought modes are not wholly foreign
to Europeans, and the modes of thinking that are most characteristic of modern
Europe have also'large applications in Africa.

The above is a general assessment. Within that framework, there are wide
local variants which depend on the variation of local tribal cultures. As far as the
Kikuyu are concerned, it seems that their psychology on the whole followed that
general pattern, but that pattern may suggest a picture that is too well-defined-
a picture that runs too smoothly. The type of government that obtained in Kikuyu-
land seems not to have been very easily maintained.

It has been suggested that the Kikuyu have a "forest psychology" and this
suggestion has much to recommend it. This tribe has lived for long on the edge
of forests ever subject to attack by peoples of the open country and ever
delving further into these mountain forests and converting them as they went
into hard-won but fertile agricultural land. Most Africans are fearful of such
country and I am informed that forest squatters cannot be recruited from any
other tribe in Kenya. For the Kikuyu, however, the forests are both protective
and supportive, and it is by no accident that their high Gods reside in holy
trees and mountain tops.











Such people lead relatively isolated lives; the voice of the group is less
insistent. In such a manner of living the maxim that "God helps those who help
themselves" has much greater force than it has for agricultural peoples of the
open country-all living similar lives in public view. Such people learn to live
in their own company and must tend to rumination on more personal lines, to
secretiveness, to suspicions and to scheming.
It is possible to exaggerate this "forest" element; it occurs within the general
framework of African psychology as previously described. But, although many
Kikuyu have now lost their close attachment to the forests, the tradition persists
as has recently become so clear from the ease with which so many of these people
turn to forest-living once again, as forest squatters or as Mau Mau bands, when
there is advantage to be gained from it.
However valid this hypothesis may be, it seems that in Kikuyu-land authority
lacked strength. Its reinforcement by supernatural powers and by the influence
of positive religion was relatively weak. If African living can be viewed as a
constant tug-of-war between the individual and his society-a tug-of-war
which was not incorporated into the mental structure of the individual
as is the European ideal-then the rope was moving in Kikuyu country
in the direction of the individual. The present writer has said elsewhere
of African attitudes to life that "so long as all goes well, one may believe that
one is omnipotent and that the rules except oneself", and it seems to have
been especially true of the Kikuyu that much of life was spent in seeing what
one could get away with. Social conformity was not here so dominant a note,
and it is perhaps significant in this connexion that Tracey, in a study of African
music several years ago, found less music among the Kikuyu than in any other
East African tribe he studied.
To return for a moment to general considerations, the theory was advanced
by Raum in describing Chagga customs, that it was one chief aim of initiatory
ritual in these people to impress upon the youths that they are still subordinate
to their elders and must not attempt to step beyond their junior status. This
principle is probably in fact part-of the essence, if not the essence, of all indigenous
African education. As the present writer has pointed out elsewhere, adult prestige
is hardly based on any valuable reality; each youth has known for long all the
essential elements of his parent's culture. Such respect and awe as he feels
towards his elders is maintained by fear-a fear which is partly based
on reality (it is not unknown for an unruly band of youths to be slain by their
elders), and is partly reinforced by the "power" of parental and ancestral
curses. His respect is not, in general, based so much on love or admiration.
It would seem, on general principles, that where initiatory rituals are par.
ticularly rigorous, as was seen in the Kikuyu ceremonies for both boys and
girls, these rituals are a sign of weakness. Where ,obedience is unquestioning,
such rigours are not needed.
So it is fair to infer on various grounds that the Kikuyu, due to both
external factors (frequent Masai raids, etc.), and internal factors (as above des-
cribed), had particularly little sense of personal security for some years before
the Europeans' coming.
As regards the tribes who are closely related, linguistically, to the Kikuyu-
the Embu seem to have closely followed the Kikuyu pattern; whereas the Meru
and the Kamba, perhaps on account of having lived for long in much more open
and unsecret country, conformed more closely to the socially integrated patterns
described as characteristically "African" in this chapter. They have more music
in their souls.











CHAPTER II-THE AFRICAN IN TRANSITION
In the first place, one must clarify the meaning and implications of the
word "transition" when this word is used with reference to societies. Transition
occurs in various forms.
In modern Europe, one is familiar with change; change indeed is virtually
the order of the day. Even within the lifetime of many of us there have not
only been great changes in our material life but in our whole conception of the
universe; so that the solid world of Newtonian physics is melting before our eyes
and its place is being taken by a more fluid world of probabilities-a change
which will doubtless modify our philosophy of life in time. But these greal
changes do not bother us unduly; we are prepared for them. Our education
has been of such a nature as to encourage curiosity in first principles and, in so far
as we represent a culture which prides itself on competition and initiative, we
not only expect great changes in our time but even delight in searching for new
fields to conquer. Change indeed is of the nature of our mental organization
itself, which is elastic and emergent.
Even so, we are not-strangers to the evils of transition in Europe, and this
is also true in America. It seems not inappropriate therefore to quote Faris
here on the subject of behaviour disorders in the industrial cities of America.
He says: "Such research of a scientific character as has dealt with the relation
between ecology and behaviour has mainly been concerned with social dis-
organization and the consequent forms of personal disorganization. This dis-
organization is for the most part a phenomenon of a great transition . Such
movements break up the social systems that control and integrate the behaviour
of -persons, so that new, unconventional and abnormal types of behaviour appear
These abnormalities are not essentially aspects of city life, or civilized society,
but rather of the populations which are changing from one system to another."
The shock in Africa is much more drastic. African societies have presumably
never been quite static; no utterly static organization could survive for long.
But it is of the essence of all pre-literate cultures that their survival (as pre-
literate cultures) depended on gradualness of change. Such gradual changes have
occurred in Africa by the influence of contiguous tribes upon each other, as with
the Masai and the Kikuyu. But it has become only too clear that when Euro-
nean influence impinges on the African, his whole cultural machinery is apt to
collapse quite quickly.
This statement must be made with reservations, however, and the vulner-
ability of different types of African society to this impact is a variable quantity
which well deserves a closer study than it has received. It would not be appro-
priate to study this problem here at any length, but experience in Kenya would
suggest that pastoral cultures collapse less easily, and it may be surmised that
strongly organized African communities built up on autocratic lines, such as we
do not see in Kenya, would be much better able to withstand the shock and
would probably be more amenable to gradual adaptation to the impact. How-
ever this may be, it is most clear that the types of culture that one sees in
agricultural communities in Kenya collapse quite easily.
The other reservation concerns the type of impact. It is commonly said that
education (used in the formal sense) on European lines and European Missions
have been the major factors. The present writer would dispute this. The indigenous
African's approach to life was mainly governed by the question of "power".
He saw the world around him as a battlefield populated by conflicting forces.
Quite apart from supernatural aspects, but always reinforced by these, he saw in
the real world dangerous beasts imbued with power to harm, alien and inevitably











hostile tribes, successful men within his group who had achieved their ends
(usually at the expense of others) by reason of the power within them. He saw
his own survival and possible success as an outcome of some power in him or
of some other source of power that might be tapped through, say, a witch-doctor.
In indigenous life a balance was achieved between these powers, the tribe as a
whole maintained its power, and the tribal culture itself remained substantially
unshaken. All that is changed by conquest. The new ruler is seen as possessed
of a power of a different order; one's own old gods are impotent and this new
power must be tapped.
It is believed therefore, and this not only on theoretical grounds (as will
be shown), that wherever the arrival of the alien was crowned with success and
that alien (be he a soldier, an administrator, a missionary, a trader, or some other)
was able to maintain himself in a superior fashion, the local culture was doomed
precisely in the degree of his success and the extension of his influence. It is the
material success of the immigrant which is first recognized and which sounds
the death-knell of the earlier culture. The influence of the educator and the
missioner is governed, at first, solely by the degree in which he is seen as repre-
sentative of that material power; not (again at first) by his educational influence
as such. Indeed, I think it should be said that this influence, no matter how
ineffective and sometimes unfortunate it has been, has yet been the chief positively
valuable offering we have made to an otherwise psychologically chaotic situation.
In Kikuyu country, for example, and at least as far as the men are con-
cerned, it is becoming very clear that the generation that remains fundamentally
untouched by alien influence is now an aged, an even dying, generation. By and
large, it seems that most Kikuyu men below the age of, say, 60 years are persons
who have lost much of their conscious faith in native institutions and beliefs,
and have only been constrained with difficulty, if at all, by indigenous behaviour
patterns. It is equally clear that very few (relative to total numbers) have as
yet acquired a solid foundation in the new ways. According to rough but authori-
tative estimates given to me, only about half of all Kikuyu boys complete 4 years
of schooling and only a tenth complete 8 years even in recent years, and the
figures for girls are much smaller still; while in regard to religious influence, such
Christian teaching as they have received has been largely rendered ineffectual
by other factors, as will be shown.
The great bulk of the population therefore is in a transitional state and this
indeed is psychologically the chief thing that can be said about these African
societies. So it behoves one to consider what are the essential elements of African
psychology in transition.
It must be assumed that the African child's education in his home remains
substantially as before-based on magical and animistic principles, codes of
manners in particular social contexts, with a morality enforced by supernatural
"wills" and a remote conception of a God who represents the good ways and
might, if suitably approached, assist one. But with the difference that, although
there is no more sophistication in the training of his modes of thinking than
there was before, there is now far less conviction in his instructors in regard to
the value of the supernatural constraints on ill-behaviour, in regard to the value
of procedures used to help one in adversity, and in regard to the reality of the
positive religious elements of his culture. Indeed they are not applicable when
he leaves his home-land.
So he grows up, as before, without building up a personally integrated and
critical approach to life; and, in addition, he lacks the sense of personal security
that previously derived from the secure and positive convictions of his elders.
His "magic" modes of thought persist, but his old constraints and faiths are
lost.











He must feel therefore very insecure and, when circumstances are unfor-
tunate, he has not gained the insight that can recognize that the fault may lie in
him, and has lost his confidence in ritual procedures. So his anxieties are not
effectively allayed. Since, as before, he is mainly conscious only of adversity-
of a malevolent world-it is only too easy for him now to identify that world
with the European and lay all his troubles at the latter's door; for the world
of evil spirits has also lost much of its reality for him. Whereas previously, within
his society, he knew fairly clearly how long was the chain that held him, he does
not know it now, and cannot make one of his own-a situation fraught with
anxiety for the young in any land. His respect for his parents, relations, and his
clan, which was previously upheld and reinforced by strict rules of behaviour
and by supernatural sanctions, is now much undermined and may well, in many
instances, be replaced by positive contempt. Indeed his own self-respect is also
undermined since this was previously founded on the knowledge that, though
he was a little cog, he was a cog in a mighty wheel.
The above are general considerations in regard to African psychology in
transition. What of the Kikuyu?
It seems to the present writer that, as regards the factors taken singly, no
dramatic differences emerge as compared with various other tribes, but that
there are differences both in the material on which the impact of transition
acted and in the nature of the impact. Moreover, certain forces have worked upon
each other here, in the manner of a vicious circle, to accentuate the perils of
transition; and to produce an ever-increasing tension within the tribe itself.
As I see it, this tension has arisen' on the following lines: -
(1) It was inferred in Chapter I that in indigenous Kikuyu life there was a
higher degree of individualism than is the rule in African societies. The influence
of authority and of positive religious beliefs were relatively weak, and there was
little sense of personal security. The attempt to achieve some personal power was
made, to compensate for this, and perhaps expressed itself most constantly and
clearly in litigiousness, and by exploitation of the weak-the women by the men.
Indeed it seems that, in earlier days, a Kikuyu husband's attitude to his wives
was almost military in its discipline.
(2) The Kikuyu have had a relatively longer and closer contact with alien
cultures (European and Asian) in all their varied manifestations than has any
other tribe. Mission influence, though it started further east, was earliest con-
centrated on Kikuyu country. Nairobi, the political and commercial capital and
by far the largest township in the Colony, lies at the doorstep of Kikuyu-land.
The Kikuyu's neighbours in many rural areas are European farmers. The impact
of the alien "power" has struck far harder and for longer on these people than
it has on any others.
(3) Kikuyu men have envied this power, not unnaturally, and have tried
to capture it by learning. With the sole exception of the Teita, the Kikuyu have
shown more avidity for learning, over the years, than has any other tribe in
Kenya: with such effect that an unduly large proportion of the people who
reach the higher levels of education in this Colony are Kikuyu. There are also
many who have failed to make the grade they aimed for and, although unfitted
to take well-paid jobs, are also unfitted (in their own eyes) for more menial
work. Many others again have had but trifling formal education or even none
at all, and this applies to the great majority of women. There has thus developed
a great diversity within the tribe; but in general it can be said that, no matter
what educational level has been achieved, and no matter what success in busi-
ness (and many of the wealthiest are uneducated), these people still have found
that many doors remained as tightly shut as ever.











(4) Much bitterness has arisen on this score, and this feeling has developed
at all educational levels. Except in relation to their own people, the acquisition
of power by education has been strictly limited. In the eyes of their own people
however an astonishing prestige attaches to their educational achievements, how-
ever great or slight these may have been, and has given them tremendous power
for good or evil in that field.
(5) Educational diversity within the tribe is now most strikingly exemplified
in a gross disparity in the levels of advancement of the men and women. With
many notable exceptions, the women on the whole lag far behind.
It is generally true in Africa that alien influences tend to act more directly
on the men and more remotely on the women. Moreover women, in any case
and everywhere, are, by the very nature of their lives, more close to certain
biological realities; their lives depend more strictly on stable social organiza-
tion, and they must needs be more suspicious of experiment and change. But in
most'agricultural tribes in Kenya this tendency is not so striking as it is in
the Kikuyu.
The reasons for this are partly outside African control-a question of edu-
cational facilities. But there are other reasons. Africans in general, but perhaps
especially Kikuyu, do not see European learning as having any value in itself; .
they see it solely as a means to power, to money-making. The parents see their
sons as potential money-makers, but their daughters as ultimately attached to
land and home, with little advantage to be gained from European education.
Relatively few girls go to school and girls are withdrawn first in times of
stringency. Few indeed reach high educational levels. Another reason concerns
initiatory ritual, and the peculiarly rigorous nature of Kikuyu ritual for girls
(including an insistence on clitoridectomy which has been reinforced in recent
decades) has impressed on the Kikuyu woman in a high degree the paramount
importance of her function as a wife and mother, and the paramount need to
constrain her interests within the limits of that function and of the agricultural
work that must go hand in hand with this. Indeed the Kikuyu word of praise
for a woman is one that signifies she is attached to land.

Whether or not these are the only factors, the fact itself is manifest, and
Kikuyu women remain essentially home-loving and conservative, whereas the
men by contrast and on the whole do not.

(6) To the present writer's mind, the extreme diversity of advancement in
different sectors of Kikuyu society, and especially the diversity between the men
and women, is the most striking and unfortunate feature of transition in Kikuyu-
land. Where all move on together, transition could be easier; but here the prob-
lem of transition itself becomes a different one for men and women, and one has
to ask what psychological effects are likely to accrue for each.
First the woman. Her life, on the whole, has suffered little change; she is as
much concerned as ever, with her agriculture, her marketing, and the care and
feeding of herself and children. Somehow she has contrived to live in a chang-
ing world much as she lived before the European's coming. The old procedures
she was taught in childhood still have their value, the old gods have some power
still and, in these beliefs, she continues as best she can to teach her children-
boys and girls. But she has often lost her men-folk and, whether or not she has
lost them in a literal sense, she is now largely out of touch with them. Often
the separation is a physical one; her husband has not only worshipped at strange
altars but has gone out into the wider world and lived away from home. While
she is toiling in the fields and trying to maintain her home and her traditional











ways of living, he (from her point of view) is often leading a gay licentious
life abroad, to her neglect. Moreover, life for her is often harder than it was, if
she grows cash crops as well as family food in plots no bigger than before. One
might imagine that in these circumstances she would develop some resentment
and contempt directed against her men-folk. But it seems that this is not so.
African women, and especially Kikuyu women, are accustomed to do as they
are bid by men, to accept the letters' behaviour without questioning. What she
does feel, it seems, is distressed perplexity and a vague objectless resentment
which can only too easily be directed, whither he wills, by any influential man.
For her conflict is external, since her own beliefs remain substantially unshaken.
The picture may be changing now, in this Emergency, and it seems likely that
many women are awakening now, for the first time, to larger issues; and I am
informed that propaganda pamphlets are often now more eagerly sought by
women than by men.
What happens with the man? As a child, and like his sister, he learned'life's
lessons from his mother; his approach to life is founded on his mother's tradi-
tional beliefs and rules. But, as a boy or youth, he slipped away into an alien
world where power depended upon other rules; a multifarious world in which,
too often, he discovered no basic principle except the principle that each man
must depend upon himself without support from or obligations to his people;
a world in which the beliefs he learned in childhood had become inapplicable
and ineffective. There thus developed an internal conflict, for Kikuyu individual-
ism was never all-embracing; it developed within the general framework of an
African psychology which never sees a man as a wholly independent unit. If,
as is likely, he had at some time received some Christian teaching, this teaching
from his point of view was also probably not only at variance with his subse-
quent experience (as it often is with us), but seemed to be at variance with
his mother's teaching. This internal conflict might be resolved in time, and
doubtless will be but, as things are here, it is perpetually aggravated by the
presence of the women with an attitude that has not changed; by the existence
side by side of the old ways and the new. A medical dresser who has learned
to treat his patients with sophisticated skill is brought straight up against
this conflict when his own son falls sick at home.
(7) That is the conflict, creating an anxiety which, as has been shown, the
African is not well-fitted to sustain. How has he tried to deal with it? There
are three possible ways only: (a) to try to put the clock back; (b) to try to
make something satisfactory to himself out of the alien culture; and (c) to
produce some new solution of his own. He has in fact tried each in turn. They
are discussed below:--
(a) There is a tendency in all of us to see the old days as a Golden Age. This
tendency is especially strong in Africa and one has often been astonished,
in conversing with even very intelligent Africans, at their calm and
confident assumption that life was blissful before the European's coming.
The facts of course are otherwise, for famines, plagues and cattle raiders
must have been constantly recurrent features of that life. This illusion
has two particular roots in Africa. Firstly, in the absence of recorded
history, history tends to take the form of myths and fables that paint a
glowing picture of the successful exploits of one's ancestors and clan. The
second reason is as follows. The African infant is suckled for a lengthy
period, often up to two or even three years. His mother is devoted to
him, carries him wherever she goes, handles him with confidence, panders
to all his whims, and feeds him on demand. He is thus for a long period
indulged to a fault and, although his ultimate weaning is relatively











abrupt, he must carry into later life some vague remembrance of a bliss-
ful time when the world responded to his slightest whimper to satisfy
all his desires.

The Kikuyu, as is well-known and largely as a protest against the
alien ways (as personified for them in the Church's attitude to female-
circumcision at that time), tried hard to put" the clock back by a re-
insistence on the full rigours of initiation. This action however had,
as its chief effect, the confirming of retaliation of the women and
this, as has been seen, is no solution. Indeed it only aggravates the
conflict in the tribe.

(b) A movement that has been proceeding for some years and seems to
be gathering strength is a Christian Revival by the people. Life is seen
as a battlefield, on which the Powers of Light and Darkness are at
war, and with little hope of happiness in this world. This movement
seems to have arisen, at least partly, as an expression of an urge to
achieve equality with Europeans. Here is one field on which the African
may sometimes be permitted to stand on equal terms with, or even to
excel, the European. This is said in no spirit of cynicism. The present
writer has the deepest sympathy with African aspirations, and has no
doubt that this development is also based on genuine religious awe and
genuine conviction. Many indeed have died in its defence. But, as a
psychologist, one has to recognize the multiplicity of human motivation,
and it is a sad commentary upon affairs in Kenya that there are still
few other gateways to the European citadel by which an African may
sometimes enter on an equal footing.

The movement has arisen within the framework of orthodox
Christianity. But it is essentially spontaneous, and will doubtless tend to
grow on African lines and to supply the people's dire emotional,
spiritual and social needs.
(c)The third alternative has been Mau Mau, which forms the subject of
another chapter.

(8)The vicious circle is completed by the prestige that attaches to some
knowledge of European ways. This could be used for good, but has worked on
the whole for evil. Many men have, from alien sources, gained little more than
a few new forms of magic power. And these men have impinged upon the
countryside to exploit an anxious and conflictual situation for mainly personal
ends-political or often purely mercenary. And on this basis Mau Mau has
arisen.

As far as other Kenya tribes are concerned, it has to be noted firstly that
transition in all the agricultural communities has followed somewhat similar lines.
Taking each transitional element in turn, the difference from the Kikuyu pattern
is not dramatic. Although, in sum, the several elements have interacted in
Kikuyu-land to produce an especially vicious situation, these elements are not
wholly lacking anywhere. It must be surmised, therefore, that in many other
areas there is inflammable material.

Secondly, there is a prestige ladder, which stretches from Nairobi outwards.
It is most clearly seen within Kikuyu-land itself and, as one travels north to
Nyeri and from Nyeri north to Embu, one observes, not only that the peoples
nearer to the top end of the ladder (which is at Nairobi) regard themselves as
superior to the people lower down (and further north), but that they are so











regarded by these others. So that, for instance, an Embu man tends to do what
he is told by a man from Nyeri. Ideologies and behaviour patterns tend to
follow this principle, with a time lag related to the distance from Nairobi. Even
in Meru and in Kamba countries, this principle has some application and it may
be surmised that it applies even further afield, though in still weaker fashion.
As far as Meru people are concerned, it seems that transition on the whole
has come more gently. Changes have been introduced judiciously and indigenous
institutions have shown adaptability. The old forms of authority have retained
a good deal of their value and, although the young men have largely lost their
place in the community and are therefore a potential source of trouble, the people
on the whole have been stable and content. The prestige ladder mentioned above
reaches to Meru country but its influence here is limited.
The Wakamba have on the whole evinced much less desire for European
learning than have the Kikuyu. Moreover much of their experience of European
culture has derived from the more disciplinary aspects of that culture, and a
large proportion of the Colony's Police and Military personnel come from this
tribe. Large public works of value to the people in the reserve have here been
undertaken and are well appreciated. So that, although prestige attaches here as
elsewhere to European learning, it is balanced here by other factors. Kikuyu
influence in particular has here a less appeal and indeed in certain ways (such
as indigenous witchcraft) Kamba prestige stands higher than Kikuyu.

CHAPTER III-MAU MAU
In regard to the events that led up to the present Emergency in Kenya, there
is no need to refer to these in detail here. They are quite well known in Kenya,
especially since the publication of certain admirable treatises such as that by
Dr. L. S. B. Leakey and that by the Church of Scotland Mission.
The Kikuyu had a number of complaints but, however reasonable or
unreasonable were these complaints, they fall within the framework of European
ideology. As such they do not require explanation here, for this chapter is con-
cerned with developments that have occurred outside the framework of modern
Western European psychology-at least at fully conscious levels.
On the basis of these real or fancied grievances there developed a political
movement and, in the independent schools and churches, techniques for promul-
gating ideologies that could be used for political ends. But these developments
are also, on the whole, easily comprehensible and have been well described by
other writers.
In general therefore the Mau Mau activity can be seen as developing in
two stages: firstly a stage in which it was quite sophisticated by any standard,
and secondly, a stage in which it became somewhat incomprehensible by present
European standards.
As far as the first stage is concerned there is therefore rather little to be
said. Nevertheless four points call for comment by one who is concerned with
African psychology.
(1)On the question of "grievances", it has been pointed out before, but
requires reiteration here, that, by virtue of the type of mental structure that
develops in Africans, misfortunes are seldom seen as one's own fault. They are
seen as the work of evil "wills" and, since the power of these wills is now largely
replaced by the power of the European, the latter is apt to be regarded nowadays
as the sole author of all evil.










(2) No doubt the independent schools and churches became centres for the
dissemination of nationalistic sentiment and doubtless also this depended on
distorted history-teaching. In a land where there were previously no written records
and where such history as did exist (apart from myths and fables) was quite
recent and quite local, this must have been very easy. It is most difficult for a
modern European to imagine the outlook of a person whose perspectives, both in
time and space, were so grossly limited as have been the African's till recently.
In such a world any miracle is possible, and there are few limits to the credence
that will be given to historical distortion.

(3) There has grown up in recent years in Kenya a section of the African
population (especially among Kikuyu men) which has acquired a considerable
sophistication on European lines and a considerable wealth by African standards.
Unfortunately, with many admirable exceptions, the sophistication has been limited
to a comprehension of certain technological aspects of European culture. All
too often there has been no acquisition of the social sense which Europeans
have come -to know, from bitter historical experience, must go hand-in-hand
with technological advance. So that many men have found themselves with
money and powers which have virtually turned their heads. Power has come
quickly to folk who are not, by tradition, familiar with it. In these circumstances
such power is usually abused and this is especially true in Africa. The history
of African kings is a monotonous tale of the abuse of power and of the savagely
heartless exploitation of the people. This occurrence is not due to any innate
difference in the African; it is a necessary outcome of the type of psychology
that must arise on the basis of the African cultural patterns. Within these patterns
and, if things go well with one, it is assumed that one contains within oneself
a "power" of a higher order than the next man, a "power" of a higher order
than the evil "wills" that permeate the world. No balance is achieved, the ruje
is "all or none" and only too easily, as was shown before, the African shoots
up from a sense of impotence to one of omnipotence, and feels he has nothing
more to learn. African intelligentsia often show an incredible self-confidence
and it is fair to surmise that, given a situation such as that in pre-Emergency
Kenya, such persons would assume not only that the Europeans could be driven
out at will but that they themselves could rule thereafter in idle ease by virtue
of the "power" within them. The converse is of course as true and, when the
power bubble is definitely pricked, this- omnipotence collapses and gives place as
easily to an opposite conviction in which they see themselves again as impotent
victims of an unkind world.
(4) It is commonly remarked that Africans show no gratitude. It is said,
especially of the Kikuyu. that if one praises an African for his work he will
request a rise in pay, that if one accedes to this request he will soon demand
another, that if one gives him a present he will expect another present shortly.
Truly, he does these things. It is less true to say he feels no gratitude; he does,
and he often expresses it. but he also feels uncertainty and a mild anxiety. Whereas
he knew before exactly where he stood, he does not know it now. Many Africans
will slave cheerfully all day for petty wages for a master whom they know cannot
afford to employ more than one man nor afford to pay that one man more. A
child with inconsistent indecisive parents spends his unhappy life ever trying to
get more; ever trying unsuccessfully to discover the length of the chain that
binds him. The African must do the same with his employer, and it seems likely
that this principle has played no little part throughout the development of Mau
Mau, but especially in its early stages.
So much for the first stage of this movement-a stage which can be seen,
partly as an expression of genuine and comprehensible nationalistic aspirations
in the people, and partly as an exploitation of these people by newly-risen egotists.










In regard to the later developments, one has first to consider the oaths and
their accompanying rituals.
Oaths were in fact administered in the earlier stages of the movement and
before that movement emerged above the surface. But it seems that, although
violence was contemplated, these earlier oaths had not taken on the peculiarly
obscene and bestial nature which characterized them later, and which requires
special consideration here. It has further to be recorded that oaths, with all the
evil elements that occur in Mau Mau, have occurred before in African history, and
the present writer has been given examples of the application of such oaths in
individual cases long ago even in Kikuyu country. Moreover such oaths and
rituals are not uniquely African, and it seems profitable at this point to digress
awhile and refer to European history.
Witchcraft, in the sense of an attempt to tap what are regarded as powers
of evil for personal ends, has been a common phenomenon in European history.
Quite possibly it has occurred sporadically in all times and places but, as far as
Europe is concerned, it became most manifest between the middle of the 13th
century and the end of the 17th century. These dates are quite significant and
it is clear that the rise and fall of witchcraft are related to the degree and
type of faith in populations. In times when Christian beliefs were generally
unquestioned witchcraft was a minor problem. It became ubiquitous only when
faith was in decline. It ceased again to be a problem when religious tolerance
became general.
There are two aspects of the problem which require somewhat separate
consideration: the practice of witchcraft, and the persecution of the witch.
The evidence in regard to these two aspects is of a different order, for the history
of witchcraft is mainly based on the records of the trials of witches. The
conduct of these trials was wholly foreign to modern ideas of justice and the
"facts" of witchcraft are mainly known to us from confessions extracted under
torture; confessions moreover in which the judges were not satisfied until an
expected pattern of confession was produced. So far was this the case that
there has even been some doubt as to whether witches ever really did exist.
From a perusal of the literature however it is clear that there were practitioners
of witchcraft, but what is still more clear is that their numbers were quite
small compared to the numbers of those burned for witchcraft; quite small
compared to the number of those who lived in fear of it. They existed however
and indeed, apart from other considerations, it is safe to surmise that, where
many fear a certain pattern of behaviour, there will be some who practise
that behaviour pattern to play upon that fear.
In regard to the practice of witchcraft, it is relevant first to describe the
ritual of initiation. The chief elements consisted in the conclusion of a pact with
the Devil in the presence of witnesses to devote oneself to the service of evil,
to renounce the Christian faith, to vow complete obedience to the Devil, to
attend certain midnight assemblies, to do all in one's power to enlist others, to
undergo a sacrilegious baptism and take a new name, to confirm the oath standing
within a circle drawn on the ground, to have one's name struck out of the Book
of Christ and inscribed in the Book of Satan, and to make sacrifices, especially of
unbaptized children. In return for this the Devil, as represented by a local leader,
imprinted his mark on the body of the initiate and promised him his heart's
desires.
At the midnight assemblies, homage was paid to the Devil by rituals that
reversed and mocked the Catholic rituals, recitals were made of the evils recently
committed, obscene songs, and dances followed, a meal was taken which












sometimes included human blood and urine and the flesh of infants who had
been exhumed or murdered, and the meetings ended in a sexual orgy. Incredible
though it seems, there is little doubt that behavour of this type did occur, and
not uncommonly, in Europe until the end of the 16th century if not later.

One has to ask who were these people? And why did they behave like
that? They included all classes from the highest (such as the Marquise de
Montespan and the Marshall Gilles de Rais) to the poorest peasant in the land.
They included men, women and children, and the leader was not infrequently a
renegade priest. It seems that the one thing all these people had in common
was a desire to achieve some personal aim which they could not achieve within
the "righteous" social framework of their time. Furthermore, it is implicit in
such behaviour patterns that, by and large, these people's Christian faith was still
substantially unshaken, for otherwise their revolt was meaningless for them. That
European world was essentially an anthropo-centric world pervaded by forces
of good and evil which were concerned with man. It was not indifferent to
man and, if God seemed to fail one, there was only the Devil who could help.
And if one turns to the Devil, one must use his rituals which can only be
the righteous rituals in reverse.
So much for witchcraft itself. What of the persecutors? Witch torturing and
burning reached its peak in Europe in the period from 1500 to 1700 A.D. The
numbers involved probably ran into six figures (some say seven), the greater
number were destroyed in the later century, and every country in Western
Europe was grossly involved, with the exceptions of Ireland and Spain.

The times and places are again of much significance. It can safely be assumed
that the vast majority of the victims of this holocaust were innocent of witch-
craft practice. The persecution is a measure, almost solely, of the state of mind
of the population as a whole. It is the measure of a general birth of
doubt and speculation which the people noted anxiously and feared as some-
thing evil in themselves and expressed by action on the others. It seems in
general that whenever man begins to emerge from a phase of unquestioning
faith, of complete conformity to the dictates of his society and church, and begins
to develop individual independent thoughts, he sees those thoughts as evil. He
sees at this stage the God of his fathers as someone impersonal and who can
only help him in so far as he is a part of his community: and, if his desires
are at variance with those of his community, he as an individual can only get
his help from Satan.
To return to Mau Mau, perhaps the problem can best be considered by
endeavouring to answer a series of questions. One has to ask:-

(1) What Circumstances Gave Rise to Mau Mau?
This question has been already answered-in Chapter II. It arose from the
development of an anxious conflictual situation in people who, from contact
with the alien culture, had lost the supportive and constraining influences of
their own culture, yet had not lost their "magic" modes of thinking. It arose
from the exploitation of this situation by relatively sophisticated egotists.

(2) Do Brutal Oaths and Obscene Rituals in Fact Occur in Mau Mau?
This may seem a superfluous question but is has been often asked. Modern
European imagination baulks at such obscenities and tends to question their
existence. But they do exist, in all the depravity that is imaginable.












(3) Who Invented These Oaths and Rituals?
This question tends to take the form of whether or not these oaths and rituals
were invented by certain sophisticated Africans in the earlier stages of the move-
ment. To one who has read descriptions of certain Mau Mau oaths and rituals,
and has also read descriptions of those European witchcraft oaths and rituals, the
point immediately occurs: Have these been copied from those others? If one
substitutes pagan culture and Christianity for the Catholic faith, and Jomc
Kenyatta for the Devil, the two are often virtually identical. Jomo Kenyatta
is very certain to have made some study of European witchcraft; he had the
opportunity and it is easy to imagine more than one incentive. No dogmatic
answer can be given. The writer thinks, especially in view of the separate appli-
cation of certain types of oath to different sectors of the population, that the
broad outlines of these oaths were conceived by highly sophisticated persons.
But it also seems that that aspect of the problem is now of rather slight importance.
Such oaths and rituals, strange though it does seem, appeal to something very deep
in human nature. Very similar oaths were administered from time to time in
Kikuyu country long before Man Mana was ever dreamed of, and for quite
other purposes. The present Mau Mau oaths show a wealth of local variation
and, although their general lines are similar, the revolting details vary greatly
and are clearly the inventions of each oath administrator. However they started,
they have an impetus of their own, and even gather speed.


(4) What is the Object of Such Oaths and Rituals?
The answer must depend upon the type of oath. Quite apart from the multi-
plicity of later local variants, there were, even from the earlier days of the
movement, a number of different grades of oath which were intended for appli-
cation to different sections of the population (according to the latter's sophisti-
cation, their Mau Mau functions, and so on). For practical purposes, however,
these oaths and rituals seem classifiable into two broad groups: (a) the First
Oath, which is intended for the general populace; and (b) the Fourth Oath, which
is intended for the Mau Mau fighting forces. Though, in re-oathing the dis-
tinction has latterly become less sharp, the objects of these two groups of oath
seem to have been basically different.

(a) The First (or 3rd Grade) Oath, though latterly more violent in its impli-
cations, was relatively mild and lacking in brutality. It utilized mainly legitimate,
though fearful, Kikuyu magic symbols. It seems that the intention of this oath
was to inspire nationalistic aspirations in the people on the basis of their own
traditional beliefs. It has been stressed that these oaths break with ancient cultural
modes, especially in three respects, by (1) forcing people to take them against
their will, (2) administering them secretly by night, and (3) administering them
to women. This is doubtless true but it would seem that, although they later
became more violent and brutal, these oaths were not intended to transgress
traditional beliefs or the susceptibilities of the people any more than was absolutely
necessary. In the peculiar circumstances of a conflict in the tribe itself, the oaths
had to be forced on many people, they had to be administered in secret and, to
ensure support by all, they had to be administered to women. It need not be
assumed that the women would be very shocked. They are likely to have felt
flattered that now, for the first time, so much notice was taken of them and
the need for their support was recognized; that now, for the first time, they
might develop aims which coincided with their men-folk's aims. Indeed it seems
that the institution of this oath provides the chief evidence of a profound sophisti-
cation in the inaugurators of these oaths.












(b) The Fourth (or Platoon) Oath, is a shocking oath by any standard. It
makes an obscene mockery of traditional rituals and, by its insistence on the
need to kill one's brother or one's father if called upon to do so, it cuts its
subjects off from all their tribal roots and from all hope, outside Mau Man,
in this world and the next. It seems to have an object that is quite different from
the First Oath, namely, to dedicate and bind these people to the purposes and
fortunes of their new leader and his group, and ensure they have no other future.

(5) What is the Effect of Such Oaths and Rituals?
This question refers to the state of mind of those who take the oaths. Many
have refused-staunch Christians, staunch supporters of the new administration
or of the old-and some of these have died courageously for their refusal. But
many have taken these oaths with varying degrees of fear or willingness and,
as far as these people are concerned, the question must be answered once again
in relation to the type of oath.
(a) In regard to the First Oath, which has been applied with variations to
the bulk of the Kikuyu population, the answer must depend on the types of person
to whom it was applied. The older people have taken it with much reluctance
but, having taken it, attach importance to it as an oath and I am informed that
many of these, when constrained to confess, sweat with fear in the conviction
that their confession will itself be fatal. As far as younger men are concerned,
there seems on the whole to have been much less reluctance to take the First
Oath and the power of the oath itself is also relatively slight. In a much higher
degree than with the older people their reluctance to confess is based on fear of
retribution by Mau Mau personnel, and I am informed that among the quite
well-educated boys and men the power of the oath itself is virtually nil. In regard
to younger women, they have followed the dictates of their menfolk, as they are
used to do. It has to be recorded here that many, if not most, Kikuyu people
have naively accepted the assurances of their leaders that the Europeans would
be driven out with ease, and that those Africans who took the oath would be
the ones to benefit. It may well be assumed that the women would accept this
prophecy with more credulity than the men and that, for this and other previously
mentioned reasons, their enthusiasm for this movement, after they had joined it,
would be greater than that felt by men. It solves their conflict with the men, it
gives them an unprecedented power, and the promised land means even more
to them. Some observers have even thought that the movement itself was
inaugurated by the women, but this seems not to be the case. They have not
led, but followed, though for the reasons given they are quite apt to form the
backbone of the movement when once it has begun.

(b) In regard to the Fourth Oath, a wholly different intention exists as shown
before, and it would seem from experience in Kenya that it has seldom failed
of its intention. Its success depends on several factors.

This oath has mainly, if not wholly, been confined to men, at least in
earlier phases of the movement. Many have had some European education but
which has been inadequate for well-paid jobs, others had been ejected from the
Church for failing to conform to all its regulations, all had rightly or wrongly
believed themselves frustrated by factors outside their control. All had previously
been struggling by themselves to achieve some personal power which had been
denied to them. They had been thinking for themselves, yet had not wholly
lost their older faiths. In these circumstances, as was shown in regard to Euro-
pean witchcraft, men tend to turn from the ways of God to those of Satan and
to find perverted pleasure in a reversal of the righteous rituals,












Moreover they gain a sense of solidarity with their fellows of like mind,
and achieve within their group the sense of power over the large community that
was denied to them as individuals. Now for the first time, in Mau Mau fighting
bands, many Kikuyu men have found a common aim, and an incentive which
must dominate their lives so long as they have leadership which, by some
measure of success, can maintain prestige.
Finally, though much more hypothetically, it is possible that an element of
hypnosis enters into the effects of the Fourth Oath: an element in which the
subject's conscious will is rather in abeyance and in which he automatically obeys
the orders of his leaders. The principles of hypnosis are still far from fully
understood, but it is clear that the heightening and constricting of awareness and
attention to the spoken word of one who has a high prestige value for the
subject is a major feature. Moreover the effect is usually achieved by monotonous
repetition, and groups are hypnotized more easily than individuals. This Mau
Mao oath contains the essential ingredients for hypnosis. The administrator is,
at least temporarily, in a position of high prestige, the circumstances of the
ceremony must command unlimited attention, every ritual is repeated seven times,
and the subjects are dealt with commonly in groups. It therefore seems most
likely that hypnosis plays a part in these assemblies, and that the suggestions
and commands imparted there may govern the subject's thinking and behaviour
afterwards in varying degree, as happens with hypnosis.

(6) How has it come about that the Kikuyu, of all People, should have put up
such a Sustained and Organized Resistance?
The Kikuyu, unlike say the Wakamba, were not previously regarded as
having the makings of military men. Yet they have clearly shown in Mau Mau
not only a considerable ability to organize (which is not perhaps surprising) but
also a considerable campaigning stamina (which has been more surprising).
The question has really, however, been already answered-in the reply to
question (5). It has never yet been proved that any human groups are less
physically courageous than are any others. But some, by reason of their cultural
background, are more easily led than others; and almost all will fight courageously
if they feel a real incentive.
The Kikuyu are not easily led except by leaders of their own; their point of
view is far too independent to follow alien leaders without questioning. And
now, in Mau Mau, they have developed strong incentives of their own for the
first time.

(7) How Redeemable are these People from these Oaths?
It has been stressed that, although cleansing oaths exist as part of the
traditional Kikuyu cultural machinery, there are patterns of behaviour for which
no cleansing oath is possible and that the rituals employed in the fourth Mau Mau
oath go far beyond all possibility of cleansing. Indeed it seems that this oath
has just this as part of its intention.
All this is admitted but it seems, in part at least, to be beside the point,
and the problem can be discussed on other lines. Two lines spring to mind-one
theoretical and one empirical.
First, the theoretical. Mental hospital admissions in Great Britain and various
other European countries include many persons who are deeply depressed and
filled with remorse for unforgivable sins they think they have committed. In
a long psychiatric experience in Kenya Colony, many such cases were seen in












Europeans but few, if any, in Africans. The occurrence of this mental reaction
seems to depend on the development of a certain type of mental structure, so
that the individual incorporates within himself a general social ideal of behaviour
by which his life is ordered. This ideal commonly conflicts within himself with
various selfish impulses and may thus give rise to anxiety or depression. In
Africans, as was shown in Chapter I, the social rules are not meaningfully
synthesized within the individual and the conflict (if it occurs) is external; a
man is not weighed down by preoccupation with past sins nor by pre-
occupation with a need to order his future life on certain lines. All this will
change in time, as and when he adopts the other cultural modes, but for the
present it is very certain that it should not be very difficult for him to cleanse
his soul of any filth that has adhered to it.

In regard to the empirical aspect, one has been much impressed by the
activities of certain Screening Teams. More will be said about these in the final
chapter of this report, but at this point it is sufficient to say that they do achieve
results, no matter what oath has been administered, and that de-oathing is often
not an essential part of their technique. Although it can be said that the oaths
themselves are seldom wholly meaningless for those who have taken the first
oath only, it seems that the attitude of most of these is governed far more by
other factors, and especially by fears of retribution by Mau Mau personnel. For
those who have been re-oathed in various degrees and especially for those who
have taken higher oaths (of Platoon Oath type) it would seem that the influence
is usually more profound and although these people, like the others, can often
be purged effectively of their obscenities (even to their own manifest satisfaction)
they are quite likely to relapse. The natural facility of many Africans for dis-
sociation, for living two incompatible lives alternately or even almost simul-
taneously is enhanced. These folk cannot be trusted far, and will need for some
time a continuing support. It remains to add that many of the most sophisticated
adherents or leaders of Mau Mau (and for whom the oaths themselves have little
meaning) are likely to prove the most recalcitrant. Some others are simply
psychopathic criminals who will anyway not profit from experience.

(8) Are There Any Loyal Kikuyu?
This question is perhaps a little outside the immediate theme of this chapter.
Nevertheless it is often asked and, although it leads to fields in which the present
writer has no especial competence to dig, it cannot be wholly ignored by one
who has to view the psychological picture as a whole, in short and long-term
aspects.
One has to ask what loyalties can, or cannot, arise in certain circumstances?
Loyalty for a regime, as a feeling in oneself and not only as a pattern of
behaviour, can only be felt when that regime is seen as representing something
in oneself, as embodying in some fashion one's own interests. But it seems that
Kikuyu people do not see British Government in that light; they see it as some-
thing alien that wants to keep them subject.
Yet British Government contains a principle-the principle by which each
person is entitled to have an equal say with every other person in his own govern-
ance-which has been admired, and emulated with a varying success, by many
peoples. It is quite capable of admiration by African peoples too, provided they
feel this principle is applied to them, or will be so applied. The British juvenile
knows that within his life-time it will apply to him and, on those terms is satisfied
to wait. But it has to be admitted that few Kikuyu feel it will unless, literally
or metaphorically, they fight for it. Rightly or wrongly, a Kikuyu believes that











his political status will not depend in Kenya solely on his merits as a man. In
these circumstances, loyalty in the full sense of the word, is hardly to be looked
for at the moment.

In spite of this and perhaps surprisingly, there have been many who have
proved their loyalty; and one has no reason to doubt that, in certain circum-
stances, loyalty should be ultimately possible for most Kikuyu people.

(9) Can Kikuyu People ever be Trusted Again?
This question is often asked, and often by those who most regret the loss
of their Kikuyu employees and would like to have them back again. The question
is a little different from the seventh one and implies that, even if men have
been screened and "cleansed", they may still contain dormant impulses to violence
that were not there before, for it is difficult to imagine that contamination with
this filthy thing Mau Mau could ever leave no lasting trace.

Clearly such experiences do not vanish without trace. These people will
never be quite the same as they were before. But they might be better. The
Kikuyu are eminently teachable and this bitter experience will surely cause much
heart-searching in many who have never thought much before. The outcome will
entirely depend on what measures can be taken, by them and us, to fill the
void-a subject for the final chapter.


(10) What are the Effects of these Oaths on Other Tribes?
In general it would seem that all the elements of the vicious circle observed
in Kikuyu country also occur in all other agricultural tribes of Kenya. They
differ only in that the process has not gone so far. They are all therefore liable
to the infection in varying degrees.

On the whole, moreover, other Kenya tribes seem to be more easily led
and, as was said before, persons who have acquired some knowledge of the alien
ways (and of whom the majority are Kikuyu) have a high prestige in the eyes
of most Africans in Kenya.

Embu people are hardly separable from Kikuyu and tend to follow closely
Kikuyu behaviour patterns but with a time lag. This probably applies also in
some degree to the Meru of the forest belt, but has much less application to the
Meru of the open country. In regard to the Wakamba, however, and although
infection is not lacking, especially at points where they impinge on the Kikuyu,
the Mau Mau rituals are likely to be less inherently effective, since indigenous
Kikuyu magic (as opposed to any European "magic" the Kikuyu have acquired
later) is not regarded very highly by Wakamba.

CHAPTER IV-DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Throughout the earlier chapters the attempt was made to view certain recent
developments in Kenya as something strange and African. But there are limits
to the use of this approach and those limits are now reached. All psychological
studies, whether of individuals or groups, are really studies of inter-personal
relationships. Men's minds, unlike their bodies, do not exist as independent
entities which can be studied in utter objectivity. and assessments of other people
must continually be based on re-assessments of oneself. This principle conditions
much that will be written in this chapter,












Certain adjectives were previously used with reference to the psychology
of Kikuyu people. They were described, for instance, as individualistic, scheming
and litigious. Many of these adjectives carried. derogatory connotations. The
picture however has another side. Kikuyu people are less impulsive than many
other Africans and are more prepared to forego a present pleasure to achieve
a long-term aim, and their schemes have often been directed to improving the
status of their children. Almost all observers have agreed that these were the
most hard-working folk in Kenya and that, in general, they show more fore-
sight and intelligence than any other Kenya tribe.
Attempts to assess intelligence in peoples of grossly different background
throw, as has been clearly demonstrated by various psychologists, no real light
on innate potentialities. It has been well said that: 'Intelligence' tests measure
certain abilities required for success in the particular culture in which they were
developed. Cultures differ in the specific activities which they encourage, stimu-
late, and value. The higher mental processes of one culture may be the relatively
useless 'stunts' of another." The innate potential of intelligence has never yet
been proved to vary as between one large human group and any other. So that
when it is said, as is most frequently said by Europeans in Kenya, that the
Kikuyu are more intelligent than other Kenya Africans, this can only mean that
the people of this tribe have a cultural background (and a psychology) which is
more akin to the European cultural background and psychology than is the case
with any other tribe. One must therefore face the fact that these Kikuyu people
are the most like ourselves in Kenya, and are the best-fitted for success within our
cultural mode. One must also face the fact that progress in this predominantly
African Colony on European lines is unthinkable without the loyal support of a
people such as these who stand in some ways half-way between ourselves and
other Africans.
Loyalty, however, in the sense one likes to put upon this word, is deficient.
There is, on the other hand, no doubt as to the fundamental craving in these
people to acquire knowledge on European lines. The records of the Education
Department prove it. Of all the Africans who passed the Secondary School
Examination in Kenya in 1953, 44 per cent belonged to the Kikuyu, Embu and
S Meru tribes, although these tribes only represent 30 per cent of the population
of the Colony. The figure for the Kikuyu tribe alone would be relatively higher
still, but is not separable. Even Kikuyu Mau Mau internees, when given oppor-
tunity, have caused surprise by insisting on continuance of teaching that has once
been started. Indeed the behaviour of Kikuyu men in recent years has closely
simulated the attitude of a jilted lover, whose love for learning had been scorned
and had been turned to hate of all the latter stood for. The attempt to reinstate
the old ways was mainly based on this and, when this Emergency is over, it will
be seen for the artificial thing it really was, For, if anything is clear in Kenya,
it is tiat, for the Kikuyu at any rate, the ancient cultural modes have had their
day, and it is time to build on new foundations.
But there is a war on. So, while keeping one eye firmly fixed upon the future,
one has to think first in terms of more immediate problems.
The conduct of the military campaign is clearly outside the terms of reference
of this report. But even here there are certain aspects that cannot wholly be
ignored by a psychologist.
It is not to be expected that Africans would go on fighting a losing battle,
when they really thought the cause was lost. Few people would; but it may be
surmised that this is still more true in Africans in view of the tendency in them to
fall back from omnipotence to impotence. As far as the fighting bands are con-











cerned, however, it is to be anticipated that some will fight on to the bitter end
since, quite apart from psychological factors conditioned by the Fourth Oath
and described before, there must be many men who know their crimes are
unforgivable in law.
But that purely military aspect seems to be of less importance, even from
the point of view of the military campaign itself, than is the attitude of the
general people. I see no reason to doubt that, by and large, the people would
have liked Mau Mau to win. Apart from many older people, and many whose
interests are best served by adherence to the new administration, and many who
have staunch personal loyalties, there is little general loyalty to Government.
But, although Kikuyu loyalty must tend on the whole to support Mau Mau, the
people are far too shrewd and independent to be swept off their feet by enthusiasm
for it. They weigh the pros and cons and their attitude, from day to day, is
mainly governed by environmental factors. It is likely that they mostly realize
by now that the Mau Man military campaign will fail, and there is little doubt
that the bulk of the population only want assurance of security, an opportunity
to get on with their affairs by day and to sleep in peace by night. But this know-
ledge cannot mitigate their fears when they know that Man Mau bands are near
their isolated and defenceless homes, and their attitude from day to day must
vary according to the fluctuating local fortunes of Mau Mau.

One has therefore to think in terms of personal security for all these people
(provided they are not too embroiled in Mal Mau) whether or not they have
taken certain Mau Mau oaths and whether or not they admit to wanting this.
For they have no chance to alter their allegiance in isolated country homes, and
the writer sees in "villagization" the answer to this, and to many other psycho-
logical problems of Kikuyu-land.

Villagization is in effect coming into being in a variety of ways already-
in home guard posts of various types, in forest squatter posts, in repatriates
camps-to meet the needs of this Emergency. It could become much more than
this: a policy, not only for Emergency, but for the whole future of Kikuyu rural
life.

As far as the Emergency is concerned, the defence of villages could be so
much more easily achieved than can be defence of isolated homesteads that the
people may be expected to lose their fear, and their allegiance to Mau Mau
in so far as this is based on fear.

As far as long-term issues are concerned, and apart from several other
advantages which are no concern of this report, it would seem that there are
great psychological advantages to be gained from it by the Kikuyu. Their isola-
tion, suspicion and long-standing social insecurity need a development of this
sort. And now that their traditional occasions of association have largely broken
down, they badly need more opportunities for social living. One can envisage
such villages developing their local industries, their shops, their churches and
health centres, schools and clubs; and developing opportunities for employment
of young men who too often now drift off to townships and return with strange
and often false ideas with which to reinfect their credulous country cousins.
Such villages could also meet the needs of squatters on European farms where
a chief complaint has been of insecurity of tenure. Perhaps above all, and to
anticipate a subject which will arise again in this report, it would help to solve
the problem of family disruption and flatten out the cultural diversity between
the men and women which seems to have played such a part in giving rise to
Mau Mau.










It is not to be expected that Kikuyu people would take kindly at first to
such a departure from their traditional rather isolated ways of living. But that
is just why it could be valuable for them. Moreover, they need some clear
direction. Though this again they are hardly likely to admit, it is most certain
that, like most people everywhere, they badly want to be told just what to do.
There is nothing very revolutionary for the African living in such a development.
The Yoruba people of Nigeria have developed on these lines-spontaneously
and prosperously.
Finally, such a development would greatly help certain rehabilitation
problems.
The whole of this report is concerned with rehabilitation in a wide general
sense, but certain particular aspects arise for mention here.
I have read the report on rehabilitation produced by Mr. T. G. Askwith
on 6th January, 1954, and after visiting a number of Resistance Movement
Centres, Transit Camps and Detention Camps, have only this to say-that
I regard that report as showing a masterly psychological insight, and that I
endorse unhesitatingly all the observations and recommendations it contains.

That report deals with the rehabilitation of persons detained or imprisoned
for various degrees of involvement in Mau Mau. It does not deal with the
rehabilitation of the general Kikuyu people who remain at large, for this was not
within its terms of reference. Yet these latter clearly require rehabilitation too.
And here a point arises directly out of that report.
In discussing the siting of Works Camps, Mr. Askwith advises bringing into
being what is, in effect, a new village way of living in fertile forest country.
This is likely to be attractive to the Kikuyu; they take more easily to such a
life than any other Kenya people. It is also in the line of progress, for such
developments lead easily to community welfare as mentioned previously. So that,
in the terms of that Rehabilitation Report alone, the interests of these defaulters
and the future prospects of their children look like being better catered for
than are those of any other people in Kikuyu country.
No criticism is intended; only a modification to meet justly the needs of a
total situation. It is my belief, as earlier expressed, that villagization would be
of the greatest benefit (immediate and long-term) for all Kikuyu country-people
and that, whether they accept it willingly or not, they should have no option but
to do so. But I would suggest that the loyal and those not actively pro-Mau Mau
should be given a choice as to where they want to live, that the pros and cons
of living in forest villages should be straightly put to them, and that those who
chose to live there should be allotted plots in these or separate villages in the
forest and should have houses built for them by the Work Camp labour.
One of the chief ways in which transition has disturbed Kenya African
society is by disrupting family life. Many men depart from home for several
months at frequent intervals and lose contact, physically and spiritually, with
their wives and children. The population of the Nairobi Municipality for instance,
and according to the census of 1948, was composed of men and women in a
ratio of nearly five to one. The average length of stay in Nairobi on each occasion
cannot be stated but, according to figures shown in the Kenya Report of the
Committee on African Wages, 1954, two-thirds stay (in private industry) for
one year or less and one-third stay for longer.
European civilization largely depends for such stability as it possesses on a
stable background in the family. Crime and mental instability in European and










American cities are closely associated with those areas of the cities where there
are floating populations and where parental influence is weakened and unsettled.
If ever Africans are to develop, stably and ultimately creatively, within the
frame-work of the civilization that we know and as is undoubtedly their wish,
they must be given opportunity to live as families in stable homes. This above all.

Villagization would be a step in that direction. But what about the towns?
A great step has recently been taken by the Committee on African Wages who
recommended "that plans should now be made and put in hand for changing
the basis of the statutory minimum wage-from one which takes account only
of the needs of a single man to one based on the needs of a family unit." But
something more is needed. That Committee also wisely pointed out that few
Africans leave their reserves to work in townships with any intention of staying
permanently in the latter. They aim to keep one foot at home in the reserves,
and even the wage increase envisaged is not likely to alter this intention. I
think this would be especially true for the Kikuyu, who would try to live two
lives as heretofore.

A further step is needed and I think it should be incumbent on all those
who are permitted to avail themselves of this increase to live with their families,
and incumbent on us to ensure that there is appropriate accommodation for all
of these in the townships where they work. For otherwise the conflicts that
were envisaged in an earlier chapter will be perpetuated, and it is time that a
stable urban population was developed and in some measure separated from
the rural population. It is time that the forces of transition acted on families as
units and did not act for their disruption.
There is another aspect. European employers constantly complain of the
poor output of their African labour. It is largely a question of incentives and,
as things are, the chief incentive in the towns is to acquire money quickly
with a view'to a return to rural living. The ambition to improve one's skills and
rise in urban industry cannot develop until the rural boats are burned; but I
have no doubt that once these boats and burned and incentives are reorientated
these people will work as competently, and ultimately as creatively, as any
other men.

One must next consider education; a little word, yet which implies so much.
Africans are apt to see "education" as something odd that happens in
schools; something alien that leads to money-making. Indeed many other
people do so too.
Yet education is a much bigger thing than that and, in so far as one is born
with and retains one's distinctively human faculties, one spends one's life from
the cradle to the grave in learning, in receiving education. The education may be
good or bad but for better or worse, it begins in infancy and, also for better
or worse, the education one receives at home, both before and while one goes to
school, is the major part of it. So it behoves one to consider that home influence
first, and the guidance of that influence.
The basic security, which is needed by a child and without which he cannot
easily build up an independent and creative intelligence, depends largely on
having parents who are attached to one another and to him, and whose atti-
tudes to life do not conflict unduly. This can hardly be achieved if the father is
usually away and if, when he is at home, his ideology is at variance with his
wife's. So here again, but this time from the children's point of view, it seems
that the first essential is for the wife to live at all times with her husband,
wherever that may be.











Secondly, the parents should have opportunities to learn matters of practical
importance in their homes-housecraft, cleanliness (of persons, of homes, of
food), general health and diet, infant welfare, and so on. Much is already being
done in the way of Community Development, and the Medical Health Centres
are doing valuable and fundamental work which is much appreciated by the
people. These activities require only a considerable extension.
And so one turns to formal schooling. It was previously noted that among
the school-attending children there are far more boys than girls. This is unfor-
tunate and tends continually to maintain the discrepancy in outlook of the sexes.
I would advise that from any single family the excess of boys who go to school
over girls who go should not be more than one, unless all the girls are going
already or there are no girls.
African children need especially to be taught to think things out for them-
selves on the basis of some general principles. Their teaching in their homes
tends to frustrate this sort of curiosity and to obstruct the development of
their latent powers to integrate experience on personal and creative lines. As
adults they are handicapped by this and, especially in this mechanical age, by
an inability to comprehend spatio-temporal relations and to manipulate the
world of solid objects. Speaking of European children the present writer said
elsewhere: "From quite an early age the child is introduced to balls and
building blocks and mechanical toys, and sees around him in the larger world
a great variety of mechanical devices and machines. From practical experience
he soon comes to know that the six sides of a cube have relations to each other
which cannot be altered by rotation of the cube, and that square pegs cannot
be fitted into round holes-items of knowledge which, oddly enough, are not a
common part of the rural African's mental inventory. Remoteness of mechanical
control draws his attention to chains of cause and effect, and he soon knows that
pressing the button rings, through a wire, the distant bell, and that toy motor-
cars are not impelled by 'spirits' but must be wound. He thus become familiar
from an early age with spatio-temporal relations and mechanical causation, and
realizes that the material world works on general laws and that God helps only
those who help themselves." This understanding cannot be easily achieved in
later life; it must be founded on experience in childhood. So one has to advise,
not only that African children be constantly urged to think things out in general
for themselves, but that for younger children and as a part of formal schooling,
they should be made to play with building blocks, with jig-saw puzzles and with
mechanical toys. The value of this for them in later life will extend far beyond
mechanics.
African children need to be taught to see themselves as part of a vast
human organization with tentacles that stretch a long way off in four dimen-
sions. They have been taught at home the stories of their little world and seen
that little world too big and with themselves standing at its centre. European
children begin that way also, but other influences impinge upon them later
more emphatically than is the rule in rural Africa. In all valuable education one
must of course proceed from the familiar to the unfamiliar and no departure
from this principle is advocated here. But, in the teaching of geography and
history in Africa, it would seem to be especially important to stress that the
essential thing about all folk to-day is that they are only local examples of a
highly homogeneous humanity, which has now endured for countless generations
and in which each local group has much to learn from all the others, and also
much to give.
The question of character training must be a prime concern of educa-
tionists throughout the period of formal schooling. Morality in Africans lacks










general application; its application is strictly related to specific social c,.-texts as
was shown before. There must be instilled some general principles of social
conduct, general ideals of truthfulness and honesty, and of a thoughtfulness for
others that is not limited to certain family and clan relationships. Professor
Whitehead, as quoted by Sir Richard Livingstone, said: "Moral education is
impossible without the habitual vision of greatness", and it would seem that the
best way to realize this principle is by insistence on the integrity of teachers.
One would advise that African teachers be selected more on the basis of their
character than on the basis of their scholarship.

Finally, religious teaching must play an essential part in education. But
this question requires a more lengthy consideration at this point.

And so one comes to the question of religion. And straightaway one enters.
into difficulty. For what have we to give? The interpersonal aspect becomes
again here inescapable.

The African peoples had previously a religion; it played an integrating role
in all their social behaviour patterns within their tribal groups. Yet the one
thing we have almost utterly destroyed, though mainly unintentionally, has
been this supportive and constraining element in their culture. For some of them.
Christianity or Islam has taken its place; but for most, nothing valuable has
done so.

Christian missions came early on the scene in Kenya, and Christianity is
officially the religion of the British people. Africans came early to regard white
people as Christians. They identify European culture with this religion and, if
one asks an African in Kenya if he is a Christian, he is quite likely to reply:
"Oh yes, I have been to school."

Christianity contains the principle that all men are equal under God, with
equal rights. African people in transition attach more importance to example
than to precept, but here in Kenya they do not think they see the practice of this
principle by people who are white.

Many Christian missions have done noble work and many missionaries
practice Christianity themselves. Many Africans, under the influence of these,
have had "the vision of greatness" and, in some measure, have acquired Christian-
ity. But they have then emerged into a wider world and have found there that
white, and supposedly Christian, people have after all an exclusive group religion
like the one they used to have themselves. Their seniors of the tribe, who never
lost their old traditional allegiance, are not surprised or shaken and can say
to them: "We told you so". And so the ones that hate us most to-day are
often "Christian" Africans. The missionaries have no need to blame themselves
for this, as many of them do. But one can say this: that if the general white
population of this Colony cannot practise Christian principles in their dealings
with their fellow men, both white and black, the missionaries might just as
well pack up their bags and go.

So one has to turn the spot-light on ourselves-the general white populace
of Kenya. We see ourselves as a godless generation and pride ourselves on our
escape from superstition. We see ourselves as living in a scientific age, with strength
that. derives entirely from ourselves as individuals and from our reason. If this
were true and we were honest, we should not attempt to Christianize the African,
but would concentrate on logic in his education and would leave the religious
field wide open for certain other faiths to enter.











But is it true? Our Western European civilization is built, historically, on
Christian foundations. Whether we like it-or not, the scientific Europe that we
rightly pride ourselves on being members of, arose on those foundations. It might
even be possible to argue that the scientific mode of thinking can arise upon
no other basis than on one in which the individual is held to be personally
responsible for his social behaviour on the basis of some general unifying prin-
ciple. Mead has said: "Study of the Manus tribe of the Admiralty Islands
suggests that a method of upbringing which sternly fixes individual responsibility
for wrongdoing also establishes an attitude of mind to which the ways of engines,
telephones, and other apparatus of the modern age are no longer strange."
Most of us from Great Britain would refuse to kick a man when he is
down, would cheer the losers in a football match, would shake hands with an
opponent in the boxing ring, would be kind to dogs and cats. We imagine these
patterns of behaviour are just a product of our public schools, or an expression
of some basic kindness in ourselves. But they are not; and people are not
basically kind or cruel. These are really Christian principles which are now
ingrained into the people and, without which, people do not behave like that.
And if we ever wholly lose our contact with that root it seems most likely that
the scientific super-structure will collapse and Western European civilization will
itself decline and fall as many other civilizations have fallen in their time.
Let us face the fact, therefore, that we have got something valuable to give,
though we have not always realized what that something was. Let us also face
the fact that this gift cannot be given by the missionaries unless we others aid
them by living Christian lives.
There is one other point which cannot be evaded here by a psychiatrist.
It refers to the type of Christian influence. Mental disturbances of a depressive
type is most common in those countries where responsibility for sin is most
straightly pinned upon the shoulders of the individual. But men are fallible, and
cannot always live right up to their ideals. And least of all the African for
this ideal is new for him. It would a pity to destroy the joy and laughter, that
one used at least to see so much of here, and one might ask in certain
missionary circles that the approach to people who are used to sharing their
responsibilities might be less demanding and more tolerant at first. For these are
early days and even fifty years is a short time for people, by and large, to really
learn a new religion. And one might ask, especially after viewing the good work
of certain screening teams, whether confession and the remission of sins does
really have to be a Catholic monopoly in Africa.
And so one comes to play and games. Africans previously had exciting
lives. Although raids and counter raids and encounters with wild beasts were
often tragic, these experiences were offset by frequent song and dance. These
ngomas were suited to each age-grade and formed a vivid outlet for African
emotion. Moreover they were previously the chief field for the expression of the
people's artistic creativity. Nowadays these people tend to lead drab lives and
for many, especially in townships, these ngomas are only happy memories. The
people have forgotten how to work off steam on social lines.
Here is one traditional feature which is not wholly incompatible with the
newer ways and perhaps not yet vanished past recall. Surely ngomas should be
encouraged, even if they are essentially particular and tribal. For here is a
field in which the competition that we encourage in so many other fields
(including the sports field) could be most valuable and it is quite possible that
here, in the complex rhythms of African dance and music, there could emerge
some general inspiration for arts that are not confined to Kenya.











A word about the immigrants. Many people have entered Kenya in the
last fifty years or so-Europeans and Asians-administrators, farmers, mission-
aries, business men and many others. Their influence on the indigenous people
has been and will go on being very great. The diversity of their backgrounds
and of their ideals and aims has added greatly to the confusions of transition for
the African. Much of this is inevitable and depends on other factors than
individual character. Yet if we Europeans can retain any moral lead in Kenya,
much will depend on us as individuals. There has been much "screening" of
Africans of late, but what about the immigrants? Surely some screening is
required also here and I would advise that all those who aim to live for.
long in Kenya should be interviewed by a Selection Board who would assess
their qualifications for living in a land where their every act will have much
wider repercussions than is the case in the land they aim to leave.
Some observations made in this report might seem to reflect ill on British
Government. No such reflection is intended on an institution whose aims have
been the highest. Democratic principles have nobility but, as such, are supremely
difficult of application. Their application is especially difficult where societies are
not relatively homogeneous in their level of sophistication for life in that society.
This difficulty is apt to lead to an apparent inconsistency between theory and
practice which, in its turn, must often lead to a sense of guilt in those who have
authority and a sense of injustice in the others. This unhappy inter-personal
relationship does not develop on those lines where government is frankly auto-
cratic, and one might even ask if this is why relations are apt to be so strained
in those multi-racial countries where one race is English-speaking. It seems to be
so but, if so, it is a vice which arises from a virtue and should be clearly seen
for what it is, so that one can go forward with democracy in Kenya. For the
practice of democracy has never been a static thing. It grows, and must
grow, in relation to its appropriateness to the occasion and, even in England,
where it has grown for longer than it has elsewhere, votes for women
only came quite recently.
As far as Kenya is concerned, I see no reason to doubt that, if the recom-
mendations made in earlier pages of this report are followed, there will arise
in steadily increasing numbers Africans of high ability and noble character.
Both of these depend on learning; character especially. Africans are eminently
teachable and there are many such already. It should be clearly understood in
Kenya that, when a white man or a black has both of these and only when he
has, he is then qualified to hold responsible posts and that his continuance in
these posts depends on his maintenance of a certain standard in both of these
respects. It should be clearly understood that power (in pay and politics) will
be accorded to him on those grounds alone. This needs to be clearly stated
and as firmly practised.
But on the whole the ability to shoulder responsibility is limited as yet and
loyalty, especially in Kikuyu-land, cannot yet be abstract. It can hardly yet be
other than loyalty to persons, though there has been much of that. The bulk of
the people, like the bulk of people everywhere, need firm and clear direction.
The increased facilities for transport and for transmission of the written and
the spoken word has progressively restricted the personal approach. This lack
has left us relatively out of touch both in regard to giving and receiving as has
recently become so clear from the early history of Mau Mau. The people need
a more personal approach at every administrative level.
The people also need strong leadership at every administrative level and,
in Kikuyu-land especially, it would seem that the old type of government by











councils of elders would no longer be appropriate. For African chiefs to-day,
especially in Kikuyu-land, this must usually imply a fairly high level of formal
education, for otherwise they count for little with the younger people and are
even scared of them. Men at all administrative levels need to be chosen for their
jobs on the basis of their sophistication, their personalities and their prestige;
they need to be paid in accordance with their large responsibilities and to be
left to exercise those responsibilities on their own as far as possible.
Finally, there is in this Colony an efficient Information Department. But
the value of its services must be largely stultified unless clear policies exist of
which it is itself informed. Africans throughout the Colony need, for their own
peace of mind, clear statements of policy in its dynamic aspects, of policy in
regard to the development of democracy for them in Kenya.

REFERENCES

Anastasi, A., & Foley, J. P. (1949) "Differential Psychology", New York.
Carothers, J. C. (1953) "The African Mind in Health and Disease", W.H.O.,
Geneva.
Church of Scotland Foreign Mission Committee (1953) "Mau Mau and the
Church".
Faris, R. E. L. (1944) In: Hunt, J. Mc. V., ed. "Personality and the Behaviour
Disorders", New York.
Leakey, L. S. B. (1952) "Mau Mau and the Kikuyu", London.
Livingstone, R. (1943) "Education for a World Adrift", Cambridge.
Raum, O. F. (1940) "Chagga Childhood", London.
Mead, M. (1946), J., Negro Education, 15, 346.
Ritchie, J. F. (1943) "The African as Suckling and as Adult", London (Rhodes-
Livingstone Papers, No. 9).














SYNOPSIS
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MAU MAU
By
Dr. J. C. Carothers, M.B., D.P.M.
This report is produced in response to a request by the Government of Kenya
to see how far some experience in Africa and some knowledge of psychology
and psychiatry might throw light on the Mau Mau movement in this Colony
and might point the way to solutions of this problem, viewed in both its immediate
and long-term aspects.
Dr. Carothers was previously a Medical Officer of this Government from
1929 to 1938 when he had experience of general medical work throughout the
Colony, and thereafter was in psychiatric charge of Mathari Mental Hospital and
H.M. Prison, Nairobi, from 1938 to 1950. Since then he has worked as a
psychiatrist at St. James Hospital, Portsmouth, and in 1953, at the request of the
World Health Organization and following visits to many parts of Africa and
America, he wrote a monograph The African Mind in Health and Disease. He
returned to Kenya itr February of this year to make the special studies required
for producing the present report.
He approaches the problem by endeavouring to build up on the basis of his
general findings on African psychology as expressed in his previous monograph.
So that his first chapter takes the form of a synopsis of that monograph
in so far as it is relevant to the present issue, and is essentially concerned with
African culture and psychology before alien influences impinged upon them. The
essential points are these: that there is no evidence of any innate differences in
mentality as between Europeans and Africans. Such differences as do exist can be
entirely explained on the basis of environmental factors-geographical, climatic,
infective, nutritional and especially cultural. Pre-literate cultures seem to have
developed over the centuries on such lines as to enable men to live together in
groups without strife within each group. The cultural rules are meticulous and
specific and only have their application in specific social contexts within the
group and in relation to that group's country. They lack general application and,
since they are governed by supernatural sanctions which are both rigid and
empirical, they thwart the development of curiosity in first principles and of
initiatives. So that a man behaves on social lines while within his group but,
since reflection, foresight and responsibility are rather components of his culture
than of himself, his indigenous constraints are largely lost when his cultural
modes break down or when he leaves the country in which they applied. Many
implications in regard to African behaviour follow from this.
As far as the Kikuyu are concerned, it seems on various grounds that authority
in Kikuyu-land'lacked strength and it is probable that, for some time even before
the European's coming, they were more independent and individualist than was
the rule in Africa. Social conformity was not here so dominant a note.
Dr. Carothers' second chapter is concerned with the problems of transition.
Modern European societies are familiar with transition in various forms and
the minds of men in Europe are developed, by the nature of their education (used
in a wide general sense), to allow for this. Even so we are not strangers to the










perils of transition in Europe as is seen from the incidence of mental disturbance
and of crime in modem cities. But in Africa, the perils are much greater, for the
type of education that a child received in rural Africa did not permit of easy
adaptation to the alien ways. For, although few Africans have as yet received the
sorts of educative and religious influences which enable a man to achieve a
balanced personal approach to the many problems of the wider world, he has
lost the constraints that were previously imposed on his behaviour and his think-
ing. He has lost the sense of personal security that previously derived from the
traditional constraints and from the religion of his fathers.
As far as the Kikuyu in transition are concerned, it would seem that several
elements have interacted to produce the situation that gave rise to Mau Mau.
None of these elements, taken singly, are absent in the case of other agricultural
tribes of Kenya, but in Kikuyu-land they have been accentuated and have worked
in the manner of a vicious circle to produce an ever-increasing tension within
the tribe itself. These elements can be described, in brief, as follows. Firstly,
there seems initially to have been a greater degree of individualism and of an
urge to personal power. Secondly, these people had a relatively longer and closer
contact with alien cultures in their various aspects (missionary, commercial,
and European farming) than had other tribes. Thirdly, the Kikuyu have shown
a considerable avidity to acquire understanding of European ways to power and
in very varying degrees have acquired European learning. But no matter what
success (educational or monetary) they have achieved, they have still found
that many doors remained as closed as ever to them. Fourthly, they have felt
much bitterness on this score but, although the power that they looked for in the
alien world has been strictly limited, they have acquired in the degree of their
new education much prestige in the eyes of their own people, and great power
for good or evil in that field. Fifthly, educational diversity is striking through-
out Kikuyu-land but is most strikingly exemplified in a gross disparity in the
general levels of advancement of men and women, for which reasons are dis-
cussed. Sixthly, this disparity is perhaps the most unfortunate feature of transition
in this tribe for it has tended to make the problems of transition different for
the men and women and to accentuate and constantly maintain the problem
and give rise to an anxious conflictual situation within the tribe itself. Seventhly,
there are only three-possible ways for him to try to deal with such a conflictual
situation: (a) by trying to put the clock back, (b) by trying to make something
satisfactory to himself out of the alien culture, and (c) by producing some new
solution of his own. He has tried each in turn-the first by reinsistence in recent
years on the full rigours of initiation, the second by Christian revival, and the
third in Mau Mau. Eighthly and finally, "the vicious circle is completed by the
prestige that attaches to some knowledge of European ways. This could be used
for good; but has worked on the whole for evil. Many men have, from alien
sources, gained little more than a few new forms of magic power. And these men
have impinged upon the countryside to exploit an anxious and conflictual situa-
tion for mainly personal ends-political or often purely mercenary. And on
this basis Mau Mau has arisen."
Transition is then discussed in other Kenya tribes.
Dr. Carothers' third chapter is concerned with the Mau Mau development
itself. He sees it as having developed in two stages-a sophisticated and com-
prehensible stage, and later a stage which was relatively incomprehensible by
modern Europeans. He discusses both these stages but concentrates his inquiry
in this chapter especially on the second stage.
In regard to the Mau Mau oaths and rituals he discusses at length the close
parallel between these and those that occurred in the witchcraft that flourished in











Europe especially in the 16th and 17th centuries. He infers that such practices
appeal to something very deep in human nature and tend to occur at a certain
stage of the mental development of human societies when this is in transition from
an age of unquestioning faith and social conformity to one of personal initiative.
He infers that such practices tend to be indulged in by individuals or groups
who desire to achieve an aim which is felt not to be otherwise achievable within
the general social framework of the time.
This chapter thereafter is mainly taken up with the attempt to answer a
series of questions which are commonly asked in Kenya. On the question of who
invented these oaths and rituals he believes they were initiated by certain
sophisticated persons, but that they appeal to something deep in human nature
and have acquired an impetus of their own. In regard to their object, he sees
this as depending on the type of oath. Although the oaths are now multifarious
and now less distinctly separable, he sees them as fundamentally separable into
two broad groups of which the first and simpler, and which has been applied
to most people, was intended to inspire nationalistic aspirations in the people
on the basis of their own traditional beliefs and to flout the latter as little as
was necessary; whereas the second group made an obscene mockery of traditional
procedures and aims to dedicate and bind the fighting men to the purposes and
fortunes of their leaders and ensure they had no other future in this world or
the next. He then discusses the effects of these oaths and rituals on those that
take them in relation to the types of oath and to various categories of the popula-
tion. He discusses how it has come about that the Kikuyu have been able to
put up such sustained resistance; he discusses their redeemability, the problem of
loyalty in general and the whole problem of the future possibilities for persons
who have been deeply involved in such practices as these. Finally, he refers to
the effect of such practices on other Kenya tribes.
The fourth and final chapter is concerned with a general discussion and some
recommendations.
The interest in this chapter shifts to inter-racial aspects and Dr. Carothers
develops the theme that the Kikuyu people come closer in their psychology in
some ways to Europeans than do other Kenya tribes. In some ways they stand
between the European and other Africans of Kenya and progress in this pre-
dominantly African Colony on European lines is unthinkable without their loyal
support, though this last can only be envisaged as something for the future.
The old Kikuyu cultural modes are now largely defunct and it is time to
build on new foundations and Dr. Carothers sees in "villagization" an answer
to many psychological problems of Kikuyu-land-in both immediate and -long-
term aspects. Though they would not be likely to admit it themselves, he feels
they need this to counteract their personal insecurity (which is partly due to
their own individualism and partly due to the present Mau Mau situation) and
give them a chance (which they have hardly got at present) to develop new
allegiance. He sees in this also a method of building up social services and
increasing opportunities for employment for many and so prevent the present
disruption of family life which is such as evil feature of transition in Kenya.
With this last in view he also regards it as essential to build up an urban popula-
tion in the townships which should be largely separate from the rural population.
The recent Report of the Committee on African Wages is a step in this direction
but it is not enough, and he thinks that it should be incumbent on all those who
profit by the family wage to have their families to live with them, and incumbent
on employers to ensure appropriate accommodation for this. For otherwise
Kikuyu men especially will try to lead two lives. "European employers constantly
complain of the poor output of their African labour. It is largely a question of











incentives and, as things are, the chief incentive in the towns is to acquire
money quickly with a view to a return to rural living. The ambition to improve
one's skill and rise in urban industry cannot develop until the rural boats
are burned; but I have no doubt that once these boats are burned and incentives
are reorientated these people will work as competently, and ultimately as creatively,
as any other men." The present flux to and from between the town and country
seems to lie at the root of many of the troubles that led up to Mau Mau.
He next discusses education using the word in a wide general sense. He
sees as the first essential a stable home with a father who is not commonly
away and, as the second essential, instruction of the parents in various matters
that concern the health of the family and the running of a home-both of which
essentials can be more easily achieved in villages and towns than in isolated rural
homesteads. In regard to formal schooling, he deplores the great excess of boys
who go to school over girls who do so, and advises a levelling of this disparity
on certain lines. He makes certain recommendations in regard to the teaching
of general principles in which a person can build up a stable personal synthesis
and a balanced view of the larger world, and in regard to character-training holds
the view that African teachers should "be selected more on the basis of their
character than on the basis of their scholarship'.
In regard to religion, Dr. Carothers has observed a tendency in many people,
including some missionaries, to feel that attempts to Christianize Africans have
substantially failed. He considers that this has been, in no sense, a failure by
the missionaries, but due to the fact that when an African departs from mission
influence and enters the wider alien world he finds that white people (whom he
identifies with Christianity) do not seem to him to behave on general Christian
principles as he learned them, but seem to have a gioup religion of their own,
like the one he previously had himself. He is more impressed by example than
by precept. "And so the ones that hate us most to-day are often 'Christian'
Africans." In general, Dr. Carothers thinks that unless the white population
generally are prepared to follow Christian principles in their dealings with
Africans, the missionaries might as well abandon Kenya.
He finds that life for Africans to-day is relatively drab and unexciting. They
need to work off their steam on social lines and he recommends the revival
of ngomas.
He believes that prospective immigrants to Kenya should be interviewed
by a Selection Board "to assess their qualifications for living in a land where
their every act will have much wider repercussions than is the case in the land
they aim to leave".
In general, he considers that much of the recent trouble has arisen from the
fact that "democratic principles have nobility but, as such, are supremely difficult
of application. Their application is especially difficult where societies are not
relatively homogeneous in their level of sophistication for life in that society.
This difficulty is apt to lead to an apparent inconsistency between theory and
practice which, in its turn, must often lead to a sense of guilt in those who have
authority and a sense of injustice in the others. This unhappy inter-personal
relationship does not develop on those lines where government is frankly auto-
cratic". The practice of democratic principles is always dynamic and has to meet
the needs of the occasion.
He says: "As far as Kenya is concerned, I see no reason to doubt that, if
the recommendations made in earlier pages of this report are followed, there
will arise in steadily increasing numbers Africans of high ability and noble
character. Both of these depend on learning: character especially. Africans are











eminently teachable and there are many such already. It should be clearly under
stood in Kenya that, when a white man or a black has both of these and only
when he has, he is then qualified to hold responsible posts and that his continue.
ance in these posts depends on his maintenance of a certain standard in both of
these respects. It should be clearly understood that power (in pay and politics
will be accorded to him on those grounds alone. This needs to be clearly stated
and as firmly practised.
But on the whole the ability to shoulder responsibility is limited as yet and
loyalty, especially in Kikuyu-land, cannot yet be abstract. It can hardly yet
be other than loyalty to persons, though there has been much of that. The bulk
of the people, like the bulk of people everywhere, need firm and clear direction.
The increased facilities for transport and for transmission of the written and
the spoken word has progressively restricted the personal approach. This lack
has left us relatively out of touch both in regard to giving and receiving as has
recently become so clear from the early history of Mau Mau. The people need
a more personal approach at every administrative level.
The people also need strong leadership at every administrative level and,
in Kikuyu-land especially, it would seem that the old type of government by
councils of elders would no longer be appropriate. For African chiefs to-day,
especially in Kikuyu-land,' this must usually imply a fairly high level of formal
education, for otherwise they count for little with the younger people and are
even scared of them. Men at all administrative levels need to be chosen for
their jobs on the basis of their sophistication, their personalities and their prestige:
they need to be paid in accordance with their large responsibilities and to be
left to exercise those responsibilities on their own as far as possible..
Finally, there is in this Colony an efficient Information Department. But
the value of its services must be largely stultified unless clear policies exist of
which it is itself informed. Africans throughout the Colony need, for their own
peace of mind, clear statements of policy in its dynamic aspects, of policy in regard
to the development of democracy for them in Kenya.

8th April, 1954.


G.P.K. 946-1,000-4/55.




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs