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I'll never shave my locks, says Mau Mau Veteran

By Lydiah Nyawira | October 20th 2015
Mau Mau fighter Mwangi Waichigo Njuguna

Mau Mau fighter Mwangi Waichigo Njuguna has vowed never to shave his hair, which he says is proof of his role in the struggle for Kenya's independence.

Fifty-one years after independence, Mr Njuguna continues to run his wrinkled hands through his carefully maintained shoulder-length greying dreadlocks.

Njuguna was born in Githimu village in Murang'a County 91 years ago and he fondly remembers how he started growing his hair before the emergency era.

"I was growing my hair long before the emergency period and I remember my father asking me to cut my hair. But I blatantly refused and he sent me away from home for my defiance," a frail Njuguna explained.

Njuguna alias 'Daudi Keru', risked his life to provide food and supplies to the Mau Mau fighters and was imprisoned several times for his role in supporting the independence struggle.

The 91-year-old narrated how, in 1952 while living in Embu, he was imprisoned for donning the characteristic Mau Mau dreadlocks and sent to Manyani prison for a year.

"I was later sent to Baringo were I was incarcerated for eight months and later transferred to Gathingiriri for an additional five months. I was released on February 20, 1963," he narrated.

But as he now sits pensively at his Irigithathi village home in Kieni East, Njugun proudly tags at his locks and says he never shaved them despite the threats.

Intimidation tactics

"I vowed I would never cut my hair and despite all intimidation tactics of the white settlers, I kept my hair intact because I believed in the struggle," he reiterated.

His son, John Njuguna Mwangi, recounted how when he was only 10 years old he witnessed Mau Mau fighters come to their home and slaughter a goat and prepare a meal.

"The fighters used to come to our home for food and my father would help them," Mwangi recalled.

His grandchildren Wanjiku Njuguna and Fridah Wambui, told The Standard how embarrassed they were by their grandfather's locks.

The family has appealed to the Government to speed up plans to reward freedom fighters and heroes so their father would benefit from his sacrifice.

"I will continue to grow my hair because I want to keep a reminder of my history for the sake of my children and grandchildren. It is part of my inheritance to them. My past provided their future," said Njuguna.

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