Google has replaced its homepage logo with a Doodle to honour and celebrate Mekatilili wa Menza, one of Kenya’s first freedom fighters.
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’ #Shujaa #Mekatilili pic.twitter.com/Iex5SzrvAY
— Google in Africa (@googleafrica) August 8, 2020
At the time, the British colonial rule had threatened the sovereignty and freedom of the Giriama people with forced labour and taxation.
Menza travelled from village to village rallying Giriama people to fight against the oppression of the British settlers. She is remembered for performing the native dance ofkifudu (the Giriama funeral dance) to draw large crowds and then unleashing her powerful oratory skills to garner support and encourage her tribe to resist and swear oaths.
Her 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 tirelessly fought.
“Doodles provide a way for Google to connect with its users by helping them celebrate important moments and national heroes. Today, we honour Mekatilili wa Menza, the Giriama Wonder Woman who had a heart that was full of passion. Passion for freedom. Freedom against the oppressors of her people.
We remember that her resistance quest led to her imprisonment in a far land in western Kenya and that she had to walk 965 kilometres to get back to her land after escaping from the prison,” said Dorothy Ooko, Google’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Africa.
In @KilifiCountyKE, we commemorate Mekatilili wa Menza annually during the month of August and remind ourselves of Mekatilili Wa Menza’s legacy and emulate her courageous spirit, and also to celebrate women who fought for independence in Kenya. #Mekatilili pic.twitter.com/vesypVb2Ek
— Rt. Hon. Amason Jeffah Kingi, EGH. (@governorkingi) August 9, 2020