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Muoki Mbunga

Ph.D. Candidate


ASP 220: Introduction to Africana Studies

Major Field

East Africa

Other Fields

British Imperialism; West Africa; African-American History


Robert Maxon

Research Interests

My dissertation examines the invention and reinvention of Mau Mau rituals during the war of independence in late colonial Kenya, 1952-60. I argue that Mau Mau members created new rites and reconfigured old ones in order to make their struggle sacred and thus foster individual commitment and popular support for the anticolonial war. Furthermore, I propose that Mau Mau ceremonies and ritual practices broke taboos as part of a conscious and contested process of sacralization, whereby participants reconsidered what was sacred, moral and acceptable in Gikuyu society. The working title of my dissertation is “Mau Mau’s Moral War: The Sacralization of Struggle in Late Colonial Kenya.”