What It Looks Like When Kenyans Seek an Apology from Britain

As King Charles commences his visit to Kenya, the anticipation and curiosity among Kenyans have been palpable, particularly on social platforms and mainstream media. Many Kenyans are wondering whether his visit will include an apology on behalf of the United Kingdom and Britain for the historical wrongs committed during the colonial period.

From the information available, it appears that his majesty will use this visit as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the injustices suffered by the people of Kenya during that tumultuous period. His itinerary includes a tour of a new museum dedicated to Kenyan history, a visit to the site where Kenya declared its independence, and a solemn act of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warriors in Uhuru Gardens. Notably, the Kenyan President recently inspected the preparations for this significant event.

The reason behind Kenyans\’ keen interest in a British apology is deeply rooted in the painful colonial history that led to the dispossession of Kenyans from their ancestral lands, brutal killings, and the enduring legacy of exploitation. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that Kenya and the UK maintain cordial diplomatic relations under the Commonwealth.

However, the primary focus of this article is not to stray from the subject of Kenyans seeking an apology from Britain. Therefore, it is worth recalling that not too long ago, the UK government extended a monetary settlement to the Mau Mau for the suffering and torture endured during the Kenyan rebellion.

The matter of offering an apology raises questions about the nature of apologies themselves. Apologies in Africa are typically seen as a manifestation of an individual\’s inner remorse for a wrongdoing. They are an acknowledgment that one recognizes their transgressions and expresses regret to the affected party.

In some cases, apologies are compelled by external factors, such as mediators in conflict resolution who insist that offenders apologize to one another as a step towards reconciliation. Within families, apologies may be encouraged to prevent the disintegration of relationships and the potential fallout of persisting in a stubborn position when one knows they are in the wrong.

Conversely, apologies are also utilized as a tool to avert conflicts from escalating further.

Where does the situation of Kenya fit into this framework? It resembles a scenario where a man\’s house is invaded by an intruder, who makes off with his belongings. The homeowner, seeing the intruder fleeing, looking gigantic with springing muscular legs, he realizes the need to diffuse the situation and calls out, \”Hey, you, stop! I won\’t harm you. Please, ask me for forgiveness.\” The intruder, taken aback by this unexpected plea, glances over his shoulder and responds, \”I can\’t hear you.\”

As the intruder gradually slows down and observes the pursuer, he takes a deep breath and mumbles to himself, \”Oooh, he\’s just a small man.\”


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