Gakaara wa Wanjaũ was a prolific Gikuyu author and historian. He was born in Nyeri District in 1921 and attended a local primary school in colonial Kenya. He never finished high school and never received tertiary education.
Nonetheless, he began a career as a writer which, although undulant and circuitous, and hampered severely throughout his life, contributed to the preservation of indigenous languages. During the Mau Mau Uprising, for example, he spent eight years gaoled in British detention camps. During this period of detention, he wrote songs and plays, authored ethnography of Kikuyu clans, edited a newspaper, and served as Education Committee Secretary for his detention camp.
It was at this time that he started documenting events in his life, albeit discreetly. Later, his books after having been banned and causing him to be arrested, were passed to be included as part of various syllabi for Gĩkũyu language instruction in the lower grades of primary school-mostly standard one, two, and three.These books mainly included children's short stories-often a collection of folk-lore.Teachers often used the popular introductory texts by writer Fred Kago titled "Wĩrute Gũthoma (Foundations of Learning)" for the basics and supplemented them with Gakaara's stories.
He died on March 30, 2001, and was interred in Karatina. Gakaara left a personal archive of over 7,000 pages, a large proportion of which had been composed during his detention in the 1950s.
O Kĩrĩma Ngaagũa
Mageria Nomo Mahota
Marebeta Ikũmi ma wendo