The Last Battle screens on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 20h00 GMT on Witness, Al Jazeera’s flagship documentary strand.
Filmed on two continents over four years, The Last Battle traces the story of a small group of elderly Kenyans in their successful fight to win acknowledgement of the abuses suffered at the hands of the British colonial authorities at the height of the 1950s Mau Mau emergency.
With intimate and disturbing interviews, observational footage, photographs and archive, this revelatory and compelling documentary follows the legal case in London and lays bare a history that was deliberately hidden, allowing the central protagonists to tell the world, for the first time, their stories and what happened to them.
For example, Paulo Nzili and Ndiku Mutua speak about how they were castrated with pliers when they were arrested for being part of the Mau Mau, while Naomi Nziula speaks about miscarrying after being sexually assaulted with a glass bottle, after she was arrested on suspicion of being involved with the movement. In June 2013, British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that 5 228 Kenyan victims would receive payments totaling £19.9m following an out-of-court settlement.
Filmmaker Jemma Gander says, “As a British filmmaker I first learnt of the independence struggle in Kenya after reading an article in an African magazine. I was both shocked yet eager to find out more about these freedom fighters who were tortured by agents acting for the colonial authorities in the 1950s. Britain is often seen as the paternalistic colonial power in comparison to other European powers and I was keen to reveal the truth about the British and their often brutal suppression of a people who were fighting for self-rule.”