Reordering of land and its tenets in this way functions as a system of epistemic violence insofar as that it causes disruption on a massive scale and obliteration of the native systems that direct the possession and use of land. Furthermore, it erases the distinction of the other. In this sense, colonial representation becomes a form of violence. The refusal of the Gikuyu demands for land tenure rights in the 1920s by the colonial government is a demonstration of this fact. In connection with this incident, Simon Gikandi observes that the measure taken by the government “was not simply questioning their (Gikuyu) narratives of ownership and possession, but their notions of the past and the future; it was a threat to their emergent sense of self and a violation of the integrity of their social body ” (Ngugi Wa Thiongo.P.19).
The Kenyan landscape is closely linked with the spiritual, political and social identity of the community. Ngugi’s portraiture of landscape is molded by some definite moments in Kenyan history. However, in relation to the infusion of landscape and the artistic vision of the author, an outline of the author’s relevant biographical sketch is inevitable .The circumstances of Ngugi’s childhood and adolescence sum up a series of the most momentous cultural and historical facets of Modern Kenya. Ngugi was born in to a large farming family which immediately had to confront the tragic phase of the continuing process of the confiscation of the Kenyan land by the colonial rule that caused the deterioration of the rural communities in all aspects, and the subsequent pressure on the traditional family unit. The course of colonialism involves the direct takeover of the indigenous land. In Kenya, though, the British implemented extreme measures-such as violation of the law and arrangements that they themselves had constituted -in order to secure the best land, particularly compatible in terms of its climatic condition. Mainly, it was an area called White Highlands where the land grab was most wide and resolute, and it was here in the village of Kamirriithu that Ngugi was born. The direct takeover of the land by British made many Kenyans, especially Gikuyu, Ngugi’s community, landless tenants. And they confronted harsh economic exploitation due to the British policy that turned the Kenyans to the extent that they were forced to work for wages or became an insignificant part of a large money economy, instead of living off their own natural produce. The changes the British rule brought in to effect were extremely severe and highly damaging to many indigenous cultures. as Ngugi makes frequent mention in his early novels the worst affected was the Gikuyu community, mostly because of the spiritual rank that they had maintained in connection with the land given by God to their forefathers and Mumbi . The linkage to the soil was made physical by shedding of the blood as a part of the tribal rituals such as circumcision and clitoridectonomy which is mandatory for each one in the community to undergo in adolescence. The British rule gave a wrong interpretation to the owner ship of the land in order to appropriate it to its ends. The colonialists found the land, especially the area known as White land as suited for them by virtue of its similarities between those of European climatic conditions and landscape, and the appropriation of the land was justified by the legal argument. In Facing Mount Kenya, Kenyatta gives an account of how the British misconstrued the nature of Gikuyu land occupancy and appropriated it to suit their requirements. In Gikuyu tribal system, the sense of private property authorized to the family was highly developed. Nonetheless, the structure of ownership did not mean the restricted use of the land by the owner or extracting of rents from those who needed to have cultivation or building rights. In other words, it was t the individual’s delight to hold a property and his satisfaction to allow combined use of such property. This sense of hospitality which made the smooth the progress of the shared use of almost everything, has been misapprehended by the Europeans who misinterpreted it by saying that the land was under the communal or tribal ownership. And they insisted that “the land must be mali ya serikali, which means Government property. Having coined this new terminology of land tenure, the British Government began to drive away the original owners of land.” (P.26)
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