Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, August 10, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “NATIVE MURDER – THE HAWKINS CASE: PART 1”

It is dangerous to type-cast the inhabitants of 1920’s Nairobi in the Jade del Cameron mysteries. Dangerous, because it gives incorrect impressions of the people and times, which are always more complex than we realize. As seen in a previous post on the War Memorial, there were those eager to recognize the heroic contribution of the native Africans and there were those appalled by such an idea. There were also strong advocates for native’s rights, and equally strong advocates for European supremacy over the natives. Lumping the colonists in any one category would not be accurate. Many colonists probably waffled onto both sides of the issue. But sometimes a case came up that clearly defined where people stood. Such was the Hawkins Trial in 1920.

On April 16, 1920 Captain Longley Hawkins, who resided on a farm near Ruiru, reported a box containing 400 rupees was stolen from his house. He accused four of the native Kikuyu workers on his farm. Since the European constable in charge of the district was ill and all others were away, there was no immediate investigation on the part of the police. Hawkins, on the other hand, investigated using a native custom of “smelling out” the guilty party. Part of the ordeal involved licking a hot knife. Four native men were accused by Hawkins and three of them submitted to the ordeal. The fourth, a man names Meharu refused. The other three pointed him out as the thief.

Over the course of many days, Meharu and another man named Kamangu, were tied at the ankles, wrists and the rope from the wrist wrapped around the neck. Then Hawkins and a Kavirondo askari named Hassanda beat the men with a kiboko, a whip made of hippo hide. At other times the native mens’ fingers where pressed in a vise. Meharu’s mother was also beaten. She survived but Meharu did not. Hassanda was arrested and shot himself.

Now Captain Hawkins is on trial. While Resident Magistrate, Mr. Doorly, awaits final testimony of the other native, Kamangu, who was in the hospital, bail was set for Mr. Hawkins at 6,000 rupees and “a surety for the same amount.”

The images and quotes were taken from The Leader of British East Africa June 12, 1920.

NEXT WEEK: The Hawkins Case: Part 2.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, is available in hardcover. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH will be released Sept. 1, 2009. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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