Undercurrents to Independence: Plantation Struggles in Kenya’s Central Province 1959-60

Article


Hyde, D. 2010. Undercurrents to Independence: Plantation Struggles in Kenya’s Central Province 1959-60. Journal of Eastern African Studies. 4 (3), pp. 467-489.
AuthorsHyde, D.
Abstract

The avalanche of plantation strikes which took place during early months of 1960 initiated the successive strike waves which plagued Kenya’s decolonisation process. The lifting of the Emergency and the announcement of a transition period to African majority government in January 1960 was marked by a new confidence. After years of draconian discipline, estate workers embraced trade unionism and moved into their first organised struggles over wages and conditions. They were joined by unrestricted former Mau Mau detainees and the victims of land consolidation who entered the plantation work force. The arousal of high expectation fuelled the strikes that engulfed the plantation districts of Kenya’s Central Province during the approach to independence. These events took place against a background of severe crisis within world coffee markets. Faced by this, European coffee growers attempted to compensate themselves by rationalising the plantation economy at the expense of their workers. This was met by fierce resistance from plantation labourers which was only eventually tamed as union leaders struggled to arrest the movement and surrender organisational autonomy to the state.

KeywordsPlantations; trade unions
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Journal citation4 (3), pp. 467-489
ISSN1753-1063 (electronic) 1753-1055 (paper)
Year2010
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/17531055.2010.517416
Web address (URL)http://doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2010.517416
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1209
Publication dates
Print21 Oct 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Apr 2011
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Eastern African Studies on 21.10.10, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17531055.2010.517416
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