Does Diaspora Writer Understand the history of the Kikuyu? You Decide
Does Diaspora Writer Understand the history of the Kikuyu? You DecideDr. Teddy Kamau
After the British created the Kikuyu prison camps starting in 1952, they encountered a dilemma. The detainees refused even to get out of their (shiugu) sheds or speak to the British authorities. The colonial government brought many people to try to break the silence. Then they were referred to a priest. He was known as a Kikuyu among Kikuyus.
This man was Johanna Nyenjeri Njoroge. He was sought by the British Colonial Government to mediate between the Kikuyu prisoners and to guide the Colonial government into understanding Kikuyu culture, traditions, and practices. When he arrived at the prison camps, Kikuyu men began to come out and the Mau Mau among them agreed to speak to him only. They respected him as a Kikuyu who honored the Tribe but also understood the British Colonial philosophy.
Ask any Kikuyu who went through Athi River detention camp. Anyone who was then transferred to Fort Hall or Manyani Prison will tell you of ‘muru wa Njoroge’ (Son of Njoroge). It was Pastor Nyenjeri who encouraged the Mau Mau, counseled them in this time of pain and suffering, and it was him who guided the British government into understanding that the Mau Mau would never stop fighting for their soil. He was the Kikuyu master who became the bridge to the Kikuyu and British colonial move towards independence. I studied under that man for years. That man Johanna Nyenjeri wa Njoroge was my grandfather. Johanna was the first Kenyan pastor of Kijabe Mission Church and died at the age of 115. He is buried in Kijabe Mission.Pastor Johanna Nyenjeri
You can find his name in the Royal colonial records of Athi River and Manyani prison as “Padre Johanna.” You can also find him referred to in every intellectual analysis of the prison camps in Kenya. Read the book “Beyond the Kikuyu Curtain” written by a Medical Doctor Helen Virginia Blakeslee. Google Johanna Nyenjeri and you will find him referenced in theses and dissertations. When I speak about Gikuyu, I am speaking about historical Kikuyu with absolute intellectual authority.
Note: When Jomo Kenyatta, a true Kikuyu, was in Kapenguria in 1960, the British government sent for the African clergy to assure them that he was not ‘evil’ and could be released from prison. The Catholic Bishop, Anglican, Presbyterian, and others went to see Kenyatta. The only question he asked them was this: “Who among you is Johanna Nyenjeri? Is Kamau wa Nyenjeri from Kijabe here?” He wanted to meet these Kikuyu legends that made the British understand Kikuyu resolve. He wanted to meet these men who were a source of encouragement to him in prison through radio. Was Kenyatta less of a Kikuyu because he was a Christian?
If my father, Pastor Timothy Kamau were not a true Kikuyu, then why would Mzee Jomo Kenyatta a true Kikuyu listen to him every Sunday afternoon? Why would this Kikuyu president who respected his Gikuyu culture consider him his personal pastor? I was brought up and taught by Pastor Timothy Kamau, a Kikuyu, who was also an Evangelical Christian.
As to my adherence to biblical revelation, I have no apologies, just testimony.
Should I tell you about my encounter with Jesus Christ? Should I display the power of God in my life? Should I testify about my encounters with angels? My four years in a Kenyan seminary with 270 credit hours in Biblical Theology, African Traditional Religion, and Psychology? Should I refer to my Bachelor’s degree from Trinity International University (TIU)? Should I mention my two years of New Testament Greek? I studied Western Philosophy and Biblical history. Should I mention my study of biblical Hebrew? Maybe continue and mention my Master’s degrees in Christian Thought and Western Philosophy and Thought, and my study in Master of Divinity in Apologetics from the best seminary in rational Christianity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). I could go on to doctorate degrees, but what good would that do?
Is my education responsible for the Africa Inland churches I planted in O’ngata O’ngai, Kiserean. and Matasia? Would my education be worth more than the Commentary of Hebrews in Kiswahili, which I wrote and taught and even today stands alone? What about my other works? Would it count for my years of Christian Broadcasting? Maybe you wanted to know that my dissertation and works are referenced in more than 25 graduate schools? I could go on to show that I am not only a Kikuyu but a patriotic Kenyan who comes from a tradition of men who have not only shaped the nature of our republic, but continue to fight for the soul of the people.
Talking about self does not add even one iota into anyone’s being. All that man is, is but dust. And that which my grandfather, my father, and I have done is but dust outside of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to whose glory all was done. For who is born of man that is not condemned to dust? And what is it that man does that isn’t but dust? So on the foundation of dust do I defend my authority? But even greater, to the glory of God through Yesu Kristo do I stand up and speak on behalf of faith when some secular humanists Kenyan leaders join Satan in encouraging young Kenyans to be condemned.
I have many witnesses from Kenya, California, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, and beyond who will testify that my witness is true. Yet, I seek nothing but Christ and him crucified. My mission in life is to take every man captive for Christ. For in Him and in Him alone is Eternal Life.
I am a third generation minister of the Gospel of Christ. The three of us have been proud to be called Evangelicals. Some confuse evangelicalism with right wing politics. Right wing is a political orientation. Evangelicalism is a biblical position whose foundation is Christ and Him crucified, buried, and resurrected to Glory. I studied Evangelicalism under the feet of the fathers of modern-day Evangelicalism and the founding editors of the famed Christianity Today journal, Carl F. H. Henry and Kenneth S. Kantzer. My mentor in Biblical Archeology was Gleason Archer, Jr. who received a PhD from Harvard University in Classics! Yes, and my Philosophy mentor was Paul Feinberg: a Messianic Jewish believer in Christ with a PhD from the University of Chicago.
That Jesus Christ “…15 is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:15:20 (NIV)
This is the statement of Christ to Nicodemus that holds true to those who seek to mute our testimony:
Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” (John 3:11 NIV)
So it is written, so it is!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist
Please refer to these lectures if you want to know about Evangelicalism: