Book: Land, Food, Freedom

In 1922 Muthoni Nyanjiru used the curse of nakedness to damn Europeans who enslaved African girls to pick coffee. In the 1950s thousands of Kenyan women never surrendered in the Mau Mau war to expel the British. In 1992 old women on hunger strike threw off their clothes to protest dictatorship. In using oral histories to tell the stories of Kenyan women in fifteen uprisings across the long 20th century, Land, Food, Freedom reveals Kenyan women's determination to get back their stolen land. Local men who collaborated with British colonial officials and settlers found themselves repeatedly challenged by the organizations and actions of these women. In acting against their dispossession, they inspired a different set of men to stand with them in alliance to defend the gendered commons.

Finally, a genealogy of African women s pioneering feminism that inspires tremendous hope and optimism. This book details concrete solutions to current problems and foreshadows the emergence of the new world of the future. Brownhill proves the old adage, always something new out of Africa.
Terisa E. Turner, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Brownhill s careful analysis provides a thrilling account that both transforms Kenyan historiography and constitutes a great leap forward in building a truly global history of feminist struggle.
Wahu Kaara, Global Social Justice Activist, Executive Chair, Kenya Debt Relief Network

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About the Author

Leigh Brownhill is a co-founder of First Woman: The East and Southern African Women's Oral History and Indigenous Knowledge Network which has been recording the life stories of elderly Mau Mau women in Kenya since 1994. She has published widely on the subjects of gendered struggles, ecology, resources and social movements in Africa. She holds a PhD from the Department of Adult Education and Counseling Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.