Harry Thuku was born in the Kambui district of Kenya; he traced his descent from one of the most influential Kibuyu families of the region. He spent 4 years at the school of the Kambui Gospel Mission, and in he received a 2-year prison sentence for forging a check. Next Thuku became a typesetter for the Leader, a European settler newspaper. In he became a clerk-telegraph operator in the government treasury office in Nairobi.
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In , the Gospel Missionary Society build a mission center in Kambui, employing Thuku as a herd boy and houseboy. During his childhood employment at the mission center, Thuku learned to read and write. He left for Nairobi in , but at sixteen was sentenced to two years in prison for check-forging. After serving his two-year prison term, Thuku was employed at the Leader, a colonial newspaper, when he became interested in local and national political affairs.
By World War I he was employed at the colonial treasury, where he increased his circle of politically-inclined friends and associates. After touring African districts and seeing colonial officials neglect African welfare, he denounced the Kenyan colonial government and encouraged Africans to stand up for their rights. He was especially active among Kenyan women , encouraging them to boycott British products and programs.
As Thuku became more popular, British authorities imprisoned him again on March 14, His supporters went on strike and demanded his release.
Twenty-one people died in the attack. Thuku was released and exiled to Northern Kenya from to Despite his earlier anti-colonial stance, the constitution of the KPA pledged loyalty to the British and supported colonial policies.
Thuku became increasingly conservative as the anti-colonial struggle advanced in Kenya. In and later in Thuku denounced the Mau Mau Uprising.
He afterwards removed himself from Kenyan politics. Harry Thuku died in Nairobi, Kenya in
His family were Kikuyu , one of the ethnic groups that lost the largest amount of land to white settlers during the British takeover of Kenya. He spent four years at the school of the Kambui Gospel Mission , Harry Thuku became a typesetter for the Leader, a European settler newspaper. In , he rose to the position of a clerk-telegraph operator in the government treasury office in Nairobi. He accumulated vast experience while he was working for the government. The Young Kikuyu Association was a non-militant group that pursued a peaceful and structured liberation struggle with the government and missions. Its main concern was for the preservation of African-owned land.
Harry Thuku (1895-1970)