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Human Remains in SocietyCuration and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Genocide and Mass-Violence$
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Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526107381

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526107381.001.0001

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The unburied victims of Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion: where and when does the violence end?

The unburied victims of Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion: where and when does the violence end?

(p.14) 1 The unburied victims of Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion: where and when does the violence end?
Human Remains in Society

David M. Anderson

Paul J. Lane

Manchester University Press

This chapter outlines the circumstances by which the bodies of over four hundred and fifty individuals killed during the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya came to be deposited in the Osteology Department stores at Kenya’s national museum in Nairobi, where they currently serve as that institution’s primary human osteology reference collection accessed by local and international researchers. The history of this collection is then discussed against the wider and ongoing context of memorialisation of the Mau Mau insurgency as a founding process in Kenya’s struggle against British colonialism and the birth of nationhood. It also explores some of the remaining divisions between Mau Mau supporters and so-called ‘loyalists’, and efforts at achieving peace and reconciliation involving these different constituencies and the role that this specific collection of human remains could play in such processes. The chapter concludes with a series of more general observations on commemorating victims of mass violence and the treatment of human remains in post-conflict situations.

Keywords:   Kenya, Mau Mau, Osteology, Colonialism, Museum, Post-conflict

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