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A Freedom Fighter Laid Low

Volume 15, Issue 3  | 
Published 04/02/2019
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In the 1970s the then all powerful Attorney General, Charles Njonjo, had commissioned a statue to be built by the late Samwel Wanjau. It was to be placed outside Sheria House but it is said that when the work was completed, it was no longer welcome for its original purpose. It was a time when the Mau Mau War of Liberation was a taboo subject. The Mau Mau Freedom Fighter was Wanjau’s creation – in the grounds of the 5-acre Paa ya Paa Art Centre he had sculpted the 10-foot statue using cement and reinforced steel and there it had stood for all these years, a looming reminder of all our patriots and their selfless service to our country.

But on Sunday, December 2 2018, this symbol of our glorious past was laid low as vandals responding to an intra-family dispute tipped over the sculpture and broke its arms in wanton destruction. A masterpiece of art and history was desecrated; what did it say about the preservation of our heritage; its message lost to the generations to come?

No, it cannot be . . . the Freedom Fighter must be repaired and restored to its former glory and now it must be placed close to the ‘Mau Mau Memorial to the Victims of Torture and Ill-treatment during the Colonial Era’ in Uhuru Park for many more Kenyans to see and experience, and to be inspired by the courage, self-sacrifice and determination of our valiant ancestors.