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As condolences pour in, there are mixed feelings in Kenya – and among some other Africans – about the late Queen Elizabeth and her country’s colonial legacy.

Britain once ruled more than half of Africa. Many have fond memories of its longest serving monarch, who smiled and waved at crowds in 20 countries across the continent during her 70-year reign.

But others remember colonial times. Like the brutal 1950s crushing of Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion as the sun set on Britain’s empire.

Ninety-eight-year-old Kenyan Gitu Wa Kahengeri was 17 when he joined the rebellion against British rule.

He says he mourns Elizabeth as a human being but won’t forget being detained in a camp by British forces, beaten and denied food.

Canadians across country mourn Queen Elizabeth, a ‘steady presence through tumultuous times’

“They occupied my land, my birthright,” he says.

“I am not a believer of forgetting, therefore we will say okay you did what you did, you have written a regret letter, if you want to apologize in the future you can do so. But we will not forget, I personally will not forget that I was incarcerated for seven years, I cannot forget, I was put together with my father, I cannot forget I left my children for seven years without food, without education, that I will never forget.”

Elizabeth was on a visit to Kenya aged 25 with her husband Philip when she learned of the death of her father King George VI and her accession to the throne in 1952.

She was to return many times to Africa as queen.

Kenyan cartoonist Patrick Gathara encouraged people not to forget Britain’s colonial past.

“”There is a tendency by some to sort of say well that past is the past, just ignore it, it’s a nice old lady who has passed, but I am also encouraged by the fact that there is – especially online – quite a vocal number of people who are refusing to be taken in by this, we are insisting that, no – the history has to be told as it is, we’ve got to remember it as it is and especially now when all these tributes are flowing, when the fundamentals of that history are being laid down that we don’t accept to be erased any longer, our stories have to be included the good and along with the bad.”

King Charles’s accession to the throne has also stirred renewed calls from politicians and activists in former colonies in the Caribbean to remove the monarch as their head of state – and for Britain to pay reparations for slavery.

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