Wives of the Mau Mau Generals

Wives of the Mau Mau Generals

The latest project by photographer and digital artist, Osborne Macharia.

This is the story of a special unit of 4 women in a small village within Kipipiri Forest. They were the wives to 4 of the Mau Mau generals and just like their men, they too had leadership roles. This women would be endowed in the most unique hair styles whenever a full moon was approaching. To the ordinary folk this was normal but to the villagers of Kipipiri their hair style was symbolic.

Props / Styling / Production: KEVIN ABRAHAM
Illustrator: JEFF OTIENO

kip BOBO: She was the leader of the Kipipiri 4. Once she did her hair, she would walk majestically and gracefully across the village without uttering a word. This was a message to the village women that at midnight they were going to visit the men deep in the forest. Her hair was twisted and curled in a complex design to form a route map to the caves that only her 2nd in command would interpret. Never did they get lost or caught.


CHEP: She was 2nd in command and was always behind Bobo. Being the arms bearer, she was a crafted fighter with more than normal night vision. Her work was to smuggle knives and other blunt weapons for sharpening to and from the Mau Mau hideouts as well as fresh supply of weapons inside her hair.


ACHI: She was the chief cook in the village and in charge of transporting food to the Mau Mau fighters. Her hair was weaved to support carrying baskets of food. At a glance one could tell she had a very strong postured neck. She always prepared an assortment of meals to the fighter’s liking.


MWENDE: She was the lead entertainer and the only one among the 4 who never went into the forest. Instead she stayed behind preparing the women in the village in welcoming their men back home. She was a great dancer with powerful vocals and would lead the women in song and dance as the men approached home. She designed her own mouth piece that had pipes connected to vocal resonators in her hair.


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Leave a comment
  1. Stephen Kakai

    October 20, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Interesting read

  2. sha sha

    October 21, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    My honor and respect to the Mau Mau sheroes who supported their men during the revolution.

  3. Sekhmet

    October 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I am sooooooo feeeling this and looooove every single one. My personal favourite is Bobo, I see ankh’cestors in her and see myself in her past, present and future. She has a septum piercing too as I do… Absolutely love. I am not familiar with the roles of what the wives would play but sounds pretty accurate and logical to me.

    T’ankh you for this..

  4. swiga

    October 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Very interesting and artistic! Love!!

  5. Carol Dempsey

    October 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    So Proud and Loving My African People~~~I see my great grandmother’s face in ACHI and as I gaze at her I can taste the food she prepared and cooked in my mouth~~~Thank You Jepchumba for your dedication and love for your African Family ~~~People~~~

  6. Annemarie

    October 22, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Amazing work!

  7. Keith Pearson

    October 22, 2016 at 9:26 am

    This is all too brilliant and wonderful!

  8. Cliff

    October 23, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Interesting stuff. Really liked the teachings.

  9. elwood walker

    October 24, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    very interesting, knew about the Mau Mau, but not about the women

  10. Monie

    October 26, 2016 at 3:08 am

    I absolutely love this! Medase pii for sharing!

  11. Queenie

    December 15, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Thkans for taking the time to post. It’s lifted the level of debate

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