Story of Mau Mau marshal Muthoni wa Kirima who shaved dreadlocks after 70 years

The Mau Mau veteran allowed former First Lady, Mama Ngina, to shave her 70-year-old dreadlocks

From left: Former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Mau Mau veteran Mary Muthoni Wa Kirima and Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant Agnes Kagure at the home of the freedom fighter in Kamakwa, Nyeri County on April 2, 2022. Photo by Nation.Africa

Field marshal Muthoni wa Kirima explained why she asked Mama Ngina Kenyatta to cut her 70-year-old dreadlocks.

The 91-year-old Mau Mau veteran disclosed that she consented to have her hair shaved, categorically stating that she believed it was an important time for a makeover.

"I had to cut it because it has been a long journey. I started keeping this hair in 1952 and after more than 70 years, I needed to get rid of them. I now feel like a young girl," Field marshal Muthoni stated.

The ever-playful and joyous Muthoni went a step further to quip that if anyone had attempted to cut her hair without her approval, they'd have been met with blows and kicks.

"Nobody can shave my hair without my consent. If they attempted to do so, I would have given them a proper beating," she stated, easing dissent that had arisen after the significant move.

Muthoni concluded by emphasising that she resorted to shaving her head to signify that Kenya had finally gained full independence.

The decision to keep the dreadlocks, she pointed out, had signified a lot of perseverance - a reminder of what she underwent under the harsh colonial rule.

"Dreadlocks were the hairstyle associated with the Mau Mau while fighting in the forest as they barely had time to properly groom their hair, making it to lock," Muthoni concluded.

On April 2, 2022 the freedom fighter shaved her six-foot-long dreadlocks in a ceremony that was witnessed by Mama Ngina Kenyatta, who was her friend during their stay in the forest and jail term at Kamiti Prison.

After a closed-door meeting at her home in Pembe Tatu estate, Kamakwa in Nyeri Town, the former first lady performed the shaving ceremony.

When Mama Ngina finished cutting the hair, she wrapped the dreadlocks with the Kenyan flag before placing them in a basket. She said they would be stored at a museum to preserve their history.

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