Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Mau Mau, Words You May Not Know Are Racist

Mau Mau is a racist substitution for the Kenya Land and Freedom Army.

There are many words and phases you may not know are racist, the substitution of Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA) with Mau Mau is racist as the word Mau Mau is used as a racial slur against Black African people by the British colonial regime in the 1950s anti-colonialist movement.  

Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA)

Many words and phrases that are commonly used today such as Mau-maued, mau-mauing, and Mau-Mau actually stem from racist offensive propaganda objectives by 1950s British colonial regimes.

The year 2022 marked 70 years since the KLFA took up arms against the brutal British colonial regime and thus commenced the Kenyan war for independence, thus the Kenya Land and Freedom Army was born.

The KLFA was a peasant army formed among the Kikuyu people and led by revolutionary Dedan Kimathi; it fought against colonial rule and sought land reform and an end to apartheid.

British propagandists, however, called it Mau Mau, a term created by white settlers and meant to evoke ideas of African savagery and violence. 

The KLFA rejected the Mau-Mau label however to date the term is used as a racial slur against Black people and many major news sources substitute KLFA with Mau Mau which is a disrespect to the KFLA freedom fighters who fought against British colonization in Kenya in the 1950s.

In 2002, American conservative media pundit Ann Coulter wrote that Halle Berry “successfully mau-maued her way” to the award. Halle Berry had just become the first Black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar.

As the English language evolves the offensive origins of certain words and phrases are forgotten and blatantly accepted or cleverly used in a way that denotes acclaim but are actually racist.

One significant KLFA movement rebellion leader Dedan Kimathi Waciuri, born Kimathi wa Waciuri was labeled a terrorist, convicted and executed by the British government and Kikuyu opposed to the KLFA on February 18, 1957 for leading the Kenya Land and Freedom Army and uniting the Kenya Forest Fighters in 1953. 

Kimathi currently has a technological university named after him in Nyeri, Kenya. In 2007 the Kenyan Government named him a National Hero. Kimathi stated the name of the movement is Kenya Land and Freedom Army. Mau-maued, mau-mauing, and Mau-Mau are racist terms people may not be aware are racist. 

The Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA), is not also known as the Mau Mau. What is in a name? The power of a name and its value is immeasurable. 

Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA)


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