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Google Honours Kenyan Activist Mekatilili Wa Menza

Google has honoured Kenyan female activist Mekatilili Wa Menza with a doodle on its homepage.

A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on the tech giant’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.

Regarded as one of the earliest freedom fighters, Mekatilili led the Giriama people in a rebellion against the British Colonial Administration in the early 90s, a time when women’s power was limited within her society

Menza traveled from village to village spreading messages of opposition, performing the ecstatic native dance of kifudu to draw large crowds and then unleashing her powerful oratory skills to garner support.

It’s recorded that she passed on in 1914.

“We are celebrating Mekatilili wa Menza, known for inspiring the Giriama people to resist colonial rule, one of Kenya’s first freedom fighters, circa 1900. Here she’s performing ‘kifudu’ to draw the crowds… ‘Shangwe’, ” a tweet on Google in Africa official page reads.

“Menza’s leadership contributed to uprisings by the Giriama against the British in 1913 and 1914, and despite her multiple arrests and imprisonments, her campaign of resistance proved successful. The British ultimately relaxed control of the region, effectively granting the demands for which Menza and the Giriama had fought tirelessly for, ” Google added.

Google said the doodle was illustrated by Nairobi-based guest artist Wanjira Kinyua.

Read: Google Celebrates Africa Day With a Doodle

In a day like today, Kenyans in the coastal region commemorate the legacy of Mekatilili during festivities of the traditional Malindi Cultural Festival, an annual celebration of local history and pride.

However, the celebrations will not take place this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Mekatilili joins several other Kenyans who have been featured by Google in the past including Dr Margaret Ogola who was a doctor and author, Wangari Mathai; a Nobel Laureate winner and Kimani Maruge who holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start primary school—he enrolled in the first grade on January 12, 2004, aged 84.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege

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