Sample History Paper on Kenya: White Terror BBC Documentary

Sample History Paper on Kenya: White Terror BBC Documentary

The BBC documentary on White Terror brings so many memories of the past of the one country, Kenya. Having been colonized by the British, the country suffered the shedding of blood and pain to attain its independence. Today, the country celebrates its 54th year of independence having attained its freedom from the colonial government in 1963. This documentary does not only reveal the cost of freedom for Kenyans but also gives an emotional sight into the lives of the Mau Mau detainees and their families in the 1950s.

This documentary serves as highly informative with its powerful cast and numerous research outcomes. The Harvard Professor, Caroline Elkins sets out to the villages in Central Kenya to research the history of the Mau Mau regime and the British rulership. During her interviews, she gets to meet old men and women born in the early 1900s who give her first-hand information on the terror the white man brought to the country. The movie takes an emotional twist when these old women and men give an account of their experiences in their past. For instance, one of the emotionally affected Mr. Kanyari narrates an account of how his groin was hit by a white man to an extent that he became impotent. This forced his wife to find other men to make her pregnant since they had lost all their children in the war. Caroline’s questions during the interviews appear to be triggering the deep-sited pain in the hearts of her interviewers. A clear indication that healing is yet to take place in the lives of the affected.

The one interviewee that grabs the attention of the audience is Terence Gavaghan who was the officer in charge of Rehabilitation in 1957-58. As much as this is a documentary, he appears as if he is in a movie after he rejects that he was giving orders to brutalize the detainees in the Mwea Camp. He even turns defensive to the interviewer and pauses for long periods of time before giving an answer to the interviewer’s simple questions. Gavaghan’s response portrays him as extremely brutal and violent. He admits not to be suffering from any guilt yet he participated in killing tens of the detainees.

True to the documentary style of presentation, at 44 minutes and 35 seconds, the film is on the average time. The audience remains entertained throughout the film despite the fact that emotions run high throughout this period. This is the major downside of the film. There are a few times when one is not sure whether what is being presented had been done in the past or in the present. However, the interviews and the demonstrations keep the audience at the edge of their seats throughout. The film is laced with clear pictures, despite the fact that some of them originate from the archives. The editing work has been done by use of modern technology hence making it more captivating. The natural scenes used and the one-on-one interviews bring out the truth of the happenings in the past.

Despite the few shortcomings, the White Terror Documentary leaves one highly informed of the history of Kenya. It makes one value the generations that have passed that went through torture and brutal deaths. It is a film that can be broadcast in history classes to educate the young ones on the importance of independence for a country.