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The Politicization of the Ban on Female Circumcision and the Rise of the Independent School Movement in Kenya

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The ban on female circumcision and the rise of the Kikuyu independent schools between 1929 and 1932 in Kenya were interrelated and politicized. In their desire to eliminate female circumcision, several Protestant mission societies, not only forbade their followers from its practice, but also membership in the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), the major African political organization. This coupling of the two and the subsequent rise of independent schools, gave the KCA the opportunity to rally the Kikuyu to its support and gained unprecedented popularity. The KCA became the champions of cultural Kikuyu heritage. The colonial authorities were brought into the controversy by both the missions and the KCA, and although they tried to take a moderate approach, their vacillation failed to depoliticize the situation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390, U.S.A.


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