Kenya’s freedom fighter Mekatilili wa Menza has today been honoured by Google through a special doodle. Menza is known for inspiring Giriama people to resist colonial rule in the early 20th century. Today’s Doodle artwork features a depiction of Menza leading the energetic kifudu dance that called so many to action.
Mekatilili wa Menza is well known for inspiring the Giriama people to resist colonial rule in the early 20th century. By the early 20th century, British colonial rule had threatened the sovereignty and freedom of the Giriama people with forced labour and taxation.
At a time when women’s power was limited within her society, Menza was compelled to raise her people against colonial control.
Today revered as one of Kenya’s first Mau Maus (freedom fighters), Menza travelled from village to village spreading messages of opposition, performing the ecstatic native dance of kifudu to draw large crowds and then unleashing her powerful oratory skills to garner support.
Despite her multiple arrests and imprisonments, her campaign of resistance proved successful and ultimately, the British relaxed control of the region, effectively granting the demands for which Menza and the Giriama had fought tirelessly for.
Every August 9, there is an annual celebration in her honour at the Malindi Cultural Festival which has been cancelled this year due to Covid-19.