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Politics and Society in Eastern Africa, 1800-1989 (HI268)

The Modern Records Centre holds nationally important collections for the study of political, social and economic history. A selection of documents relevant to the course ''Politics and Society in Eastern Africa, 1800-1989' are shown below, divided into three sections: 'East Africa, 1920s-1950s', 'Kenya in the 1950s', and East Africa, 1960s-1980s'. Most archive collections at the Centre come from trade unions, employers' organisations or individuals involved in the labour movement. Many of the documents below therefore reflect the attitudes and opinions of the trade union movement and the political left.

How to find out more about the documents:

Click on the reference codes of the documents to go to their descriptions in our on-line catalogues. This can help you to put the documents in context and find similar items.

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East Africa, 1920s-1950s

'The real Kenya question: A few facts', c1923'The real Kenya question: A few facts', c1923

'The real Kenya question: A few facts', c1923

Pamphlet issued by the Indians Overseas Association. It quotes articles and statements by public figures on the subject of Kenya and its Indian residents.

[Included in the archives of the Transport and General Workers' Union; document reference: MSS.126/TG/RES/X/1058]

'Fourteen points about Kenya', 1923'Fourteen points about Kenya', 1923

'Fourteen points about Kenya', 1923

Pamphlet issued by the Associated Producers of East Africa. It strongly objects to Indian attempts to obtain political equality and non-restriction of immigration. The section reproduced here answers the question "What objections are there to the Indian claim to equal rights of settlement in the Highlands?".

[Included in the archives of the Transport and General Workers' Union; document reference: MSS.126/TG/RES/X/1058]

'Notes for speakers in the forth-coming debate on East African policy', 1925'Notes for speakers in the forth-coming debate on East African policy', 1925

'Notes for speakers in the forth-coming debate on East African policy', 1925

Notes prepared by Norman Leys for the joint Trades Union Congress and Labour Party Advisory Committee on Imperial Questions. He criticises the conclusions reached by three MPs recently returned from a three week visit to Kenya.

[Included in a file on East Africa, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/966.9/2]

Memorandum on proposals for a Federation of East Africa, 1927Memorandum on proposals for a Federation of East Africa, 1927

Memorandum on proposals for a Federation of East Africa, 1927

This is one of a series of memoranda on East Africa produced by the International Department of the Labour Party, sometimes in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress.

[Included in a file on East Africa, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/966.9/2]

'The Gold Rush in Kenya' by Jomo Kenyatta, 1933'The Gold Rush in Kenya' by Jomo Kenyatta, 1933

'The Gold Rush in Kenya' by Jomo Kenyatta, 1933

Article written by Kenyatta when he was General Secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association, and published in the British Communist journal 'The Labour Monthly'. The first two pages of the five page article are reproduced here.

[Included in the archives of the Socialist Party (formerly Militant Tendency); document reference: 601/R/1/8/31]

'Co-operation in the colonies', 1944'Co-operation in the colonies', 1944

'Co-operation in the colonies', 1944

Report by the Fabian Colonial Bureau on co-operative associations in the British colonies, including outlines of the economic and agricultural situation in each country. The section reproduced here includes information about Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika Territory.

[Included in a file on 'Colonial questions', from the archive of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/930/1]

Memorandum on land utilisation and settlement in Kenya, 1946Memorandum on land utilisation and settlement in Kenya, 1946

Memorandum on land utilisation and settlement in Kenya, 1946

Labour Party International Department memorandum written in response to a White Paper published by the Kenyan government. It argues that "the central controversy in the affairs of Kenya almost throughout the history of the colony has been the reservation of the Highlands for European settlement only.

[Included in a file on East Africa, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/966.9/3]

'The present situation as to mass education in Tanganyika Territory', 1947'The present situation as to mass education in Tanganyika Territory', 1947

'The present situation as to mass education in Tanganyika Territory', 1947

Labour Party International Department memorandum summarising the problems with providing mass education.

[Included in a file on East Africa, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/966.9/3]

'Self-government in the colonies and the problem of plural societies', 1948'Self-government in the colonies and the problem of plural societies', 1948

'Self-government in the colonies and the problem of plural societies', 1948

Labour Party International Department memorandum by Marjorie Nicholson. It identifies potential difficulties when "devising constitutional machinery for populations which are divided amongst themselves by religious, racial or cultural differences".

[Included in a file on 'Colonial questions', from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/930/2, part 3]

Report on a visit to Uganda by the Labour Party MP Fenner Brockway, 1950Report on a visit to Uganda by the Labour Party MP Fenner Brockway, 1950

Report on a visit to Uganda by the Labour Party MP Fenner Brockway, 1950

The 18 page report covers various aspects of government and society in Uganda. The section reproduced here comments on the relations between the African and Indian communities.

[Included in the papers of Richard Crossman MP; document reference: MSS.154/3/KL/2/37-46]

Copy of letter objecting to the celebration of British imperialism, 1951

Copy of letter objecting to the celebration of British imperialism, 1951

The letter was written by Semakula Mulumba, representative of the Bataka, the Elders of the People in Uganda. It accompanies a copy of a letter sent to the Chairman of the BBC, following the broadcast of a play for children about British involvement in Uganda.

[Included in a file on East Africa, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/966.9/4]

'East African land problems: Appointment of Royal Commission', 1952

'East African land problems: Appointment of Royal Commission', 1952

Colonial Office Information Department press notice regarding the appointment of a Royal Commission "to enquire into the wider aspects of land use in relation to the economic, industrial, social and demographic problems of the East African region as a whole".

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/1]

'The fight against the Tsetse fly in the British African dependencies', 1956'The fight against the Tsetse fly in the British African dependencies', 1956

'The fight against the Tsetse fly in the British African dependencies', 1956

British Central Office of Information report. The first two pages of a thirteen page document are reproduced here.

[Included in a file on Africa, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/960/3]

 

Kenya in the 1950s

'Background to Mau Mau: an analysis of problems in the Kikuyu Reserve', 1952'Background to Mau Mau: an analysis of problems in the Kikuyu Reserve', 1952

'Background to Mau Mau: an analysis of problems in the Kikuyu Reserve', 1952

Article by Colin Legum, included in the 'Information Digest' of the Africa Bureau, a British organisation. The first two pages of a seven page article are reproduced here.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/1]

'First bravery awards in fight against Mau Mau: Woman doctor and two Kikuyu chiefs honoured', 1953

'First bravery awards in fight against Mau Mau: Woman doctor and two Kikuyu chiefs honoured', 1953

Colonial Office Information Department press notice announcing awards for bravery to Dr Dorothy Maud Campbell Meikeljohn, Chief Muhoya Kagumba and Chief Eliud Mugo.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/2]

East Africa Women's League newsletter no.10, 1953

East Africa Women's League newsletter no.10, 1953

It attempts to identify reasons for anti-Europeanism amongst members of the Kikuyu tribe and "the root of Mau Mau".

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/2]

Letter from Mbiyu Koinange regarding the situation in Kenya, 1953

Letter from Mbiyu Koinange regarding the situation in Kenya, 1953

The letter was written in response to a resolution opposing British action in Kenya passed by the Garston Constituency Labour Party in Liverpool.

[Included in the papers of Pat Wall MP; document reference: 601/Q/1/1]

Copy of letter regarding the arrest of trade union leaders in Nairobi, 1953Copy of letter regarding the arrest of trade union leaders in Nairobi, 1953

Copy of letter regarding the arrest of trade union leaders in Nairobi, 1953

The letter was written by Aggrey Minya, General Secretary of the Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Unions to the General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. He protests against the arrests and argues that the emergency is being used as an excuse to target trade unionists.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/2]

'Sir Evelyn Baring's speech to business men', 1953'Sir Evelyn Baring's speech to business men', 1953

'Sir Evelyn Baring's speech to business men', 1953

Speech on the situation in Kenya given to the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Eastern Africa. Included in 'Kenya Newsletter' no.13, issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/3]

'Criticism of Indian attitude to Kenya affairs', 1953

'Criticism of Indian attitude to Kenya affairs', 1953

Outline of 'East African Standard' editorial criticising "the Indian Government's attacks on British Governments and British peoples in Africa". Included in 'Kenya Newsletter' no.24, issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/3]

'African political organisation, expression and advancement', 1954'African political organisation, expression and advancement', 1954

'African political organisation, expression and advancement', 1954

Memorandum by Ernest Vasey, arguing that "unless we can furnish some legitimate channels for the expression of African opinion, it will continue to formulate underground and only come to the surface through a series of "explosions"".

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/4]

'Trade unionist shot at work: Victim of the Emergency in Kenya', 19'Trade unionist shot at work: Victim of the Emergency in Kenya', 19

'Trade unionist shot at work: Victim of the Emergency in Kenya', 1954

Press release published by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. It reports on the accidental shooting of a General Council member of the Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Unions and on some of the wider problems caused by the state of emergency.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/5]

Account of a visit to the sugar plantation in Nyanza, Kenya, 1955Account of a visit to the sugar plantation in Nyanza, Kenya, 1955

Account of a visit to the sugar plantation in Nyanza, Kenya, 1955

Report by J. Bury, East Africa representative of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, on conditions on an Asian-run plantation.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/7]

Forced labour in Kenya: the use of detainees to work on government projects, 1955Forced labour in Kenya: the use of detainees to work on government projects, 1955

Forced labour in Kenya: the use of detainees to work on government projects, 1955

Interview with Tom Mboya, General Secretary of the Kenya Federation of Labour, conducted by Mr Liniger of the International Federation of Free Trade Unions.

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/8]

Statement by Tom Mboya, General Secretary of the Kenya Federation of Labour, 1956Statement by Tom Mboya, General Secretary of the Kenya Federation of Labour, 1956

Statement by Tom Mboya, General Secretary of the Kenya Federation of Labour, 1956

The section reproduced here comments on the issues which "with the decline of the shooting war in Kenya" "have long been neglected under the plea of expediency, [and] remain to be settled urgently".

[Included in a file on Kenya, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/967.1/8]

 

East Africa, 1960s-1980s

'Kenya: The Corfield Report and the present situation', 1960'Kenya: The Corfield Report and the present situation', 1960

'Kenya: The Corfield Report and the present situation', 1960

Pamphlet relating to the Corfield Report on Mau Mau, published by the Socialist Labour League, a British Trotskyist group.

[Included in the papers of Bob Purdie; document reference: MSS.149/2/12/12/5]

Speech by the Prime Minister of Uganda, A.M. Obote, at the opening ceremony of the Uganda Independence Conference, 1962Speech by the Prime Minister of Uganda, A.M. Obote, at the opening ceremony of the Uganda Independence Conference, 1962

Speech by the Prime Minister of Uganda, A.M. Obote, at the opening ceremony of the Uganda Independence Conference, 1962

Colonial Office Information Department press release. The file also includes a speech by Reginald Maudling (Secretary of State for the Colonies) and background information relating to the conference.

[Included in the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292B/967.2/3]

Speech by Mr L.R.H. Welwood at the Kenya Independence Conference, 1963Speech by Mr L.R.H. Welwood at the Kenya Independence Conference, 1963

Speech by Mr L.R.H. Welwood at the Kenya Independence Conference, 1963

Colonial Office Information Department press release containing the speech of the representative of the Europeans in Kenya. The file also includes speeches from Jomo Kenyatta, Ronald Ngala and Duncan Sandys (Secretary of State for the Colonies).

[Included in the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292B/967/2]

'Uganda's social welfare services for children, families and youth, and UNICEF aid', 1965'Uganda's social welfare services for children, families and youth, and UNICEF aid', 1965

'Uganda's social welfare services for children, families and youth, and UNICEF aid', 1965

35 page report by UNICEF/BSA on social welfare services in Uganda. The section reproduced here examines social problems and social policy.

[Included in the papers of Dame Eileen Louise Younghusband; document reference: MSS.463/EY/E4/6]

Poster showing the officials and social facilities of the National Union of Tanganyika Workers, c1965Poster showing the officials and social facilities of the National Union of Tanganyika Workers, c1965

Poster showing the officials and social facilities of the National Union of Tanganyika Workers, c1965

The facilities included a clinic, modern housing scheme, dairy and poultry farm, canteen, bar and restaurant.

[Included in the archive of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292B/967.2/1]

'Developments in Uganda', 1971'Developments in Uganda', 1971

'Developments in Uganda', 1971

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Executive Board memorandum on the situation in Uganda following General Idi Amin's military coup.

[Included in a file on Uganda, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292D/967.3/1]

'Expulsion of Asians from Uganda', 1972'Expulsion of Asians from Uganda', 1972

'Expulsion of Asians from Uganda', 1972

Trades Union Congress memorandum on the effects on Britain of the expulsion of roughly 30,000 Asians from Uganda. The first two pages of a four page document are reproduced here.

[Included in a file on the Commonwealth Immigration Act, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292D/805.93/2]

Amnesty International report on 'Political murders in Uganda', 1974Amnesty International report on 'Political murders in Uganda', 1974

Amnesty International report on 'Political murders in Uganda', 1974

The first two pages of a seven page report are reproduced here, including background information about the early years of the Amin regime.

[Included in the publications of Amnesty International; document reference: MSS.34/4/1/UG 1]

Amnesty International 'Background paper on Tanzania', 1974Amnesty International 'Background paper on Tanzania', 1974

Amnesty International 'Background paper on Tanzania', 1974

15 page report on the history, political development, economics and civil liberties situation in Tanzania. The section reproduced here reports on 'Opposition to the present regime'.

[Included in the publications of Amnesty International; document reference: MSS.34/4/1/TA 1]

'Workers of Uganda appeal to the international trade union movement to act and save their lives', 1977'Workers of Uganda appeal to the international trade union movement to act and save their lives', 1977

'Workers of Uganda appeal to the international trade union movement to act and save their lives', 1977

Appeal by David Wogute, former Secretary-General of the Transport and General Workers' Union of Uganda, following the killings of leading trade unionists for "political" activities.

[Included in a file on Uganda, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292D/967.3/1]

Letter from David Owen, Foreign Secretary, regarding trade with Uganda, 1978

Letter from David Owen, Foreign Secretary, regarding trade with Uganda, 1978

The letter was written in response to an enquiry from Len Murray, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, about preventing the passage of supplies to Uganda through Stansted Airport.

[Included in a file on Uganda, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292D/967.3/1]

 

Amnesty International report on 'Kenya - The human rights situation', 1978Amnesty International report on 'Kenya - The human rights situation', 1978

Amnesty International report on 'Kenya - The human rights situation', 1978

AI suggests that "compared to many Third World and African countries, Kenya has a fairly good record on the preservation of basic human liberties and commitment to democratic institutions. The first two pages of a four page report are reproduced here.

[Included in the publications of Amnesty International; document reference: MSS.34/4/1/KE 1]

Labour Party information paper on 'Uganda after Amin', 1980Labour Party information paper on 'Uganda after Amin', 1980

Labour Party information paper on 'Uganda after Amin', 1980

The paper "traces the fall of Amin and the subsequent developments", and looks at the role of the intervention of foreign powers (including Britain).

[Included in a file on Uganda, from the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292D/967.3/1]