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Land Conflicts in the 1930s

Land Conflicts in the 1930s

(p.82) Chapter Seven: Land Conflicts in the 1930s
Worries of the Heart
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates conflicts of land in the 1930s in western Kenya. The discovery of gold in western Kenya gave rise to severe anxieties about the loss of land. Land became a major source of tension, and people fought for its possession more intensely than ever. Land conflicts had been fairly common even before the 1930s, and officials had been forced to make a detailed study of the native land tenure system in the district in order to make recommendations as to what rules should be enacted to govern the occupation rights of tribes, clans, families, or individuals. The tension over land was felt most intensely in the Christian villages. Though widows were perhaps the most vulnerable, court records indicate that others, mostly poor people, were also victims. Ultimately, the evictions and the ensuing shuffle of people and land marked the physical end of the iliini, the once-idyllic Christian villages.

Keywords:   land conflicts, western Kenya, Christian villages, widows, court records, gold, native land tenure system

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