I Refuse to Die
My Journey For Freedom
Publication Date: November 4, 2003
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An extraordinary account of how a laborer's son rose to challenge the power of despots, I Refuse to Die is both the autobiography of one gifted man who rose above the horrors of colonization, and an uncensored history of modern Kenya. The book is infused with the freedom songs of the Kenyan people, as well as dream prophecy and folk tales that are part of Kenya's rich storytelling tradition. Tracing the roots of the Mau Mau rebellion, wa Wamwere follows the evolution and degeneration of Jomo Kenyatta and the rise of Daniel arap Moi.
In 1979, wa Wamwere won a seat in the parliament, where he represented the economically depressed Nakuru district for three years. An outspoken activist and journalist, wa Wamwere was framed and detained on three separate instances, spending thirteen years in prison, where he was tortured but not broken. His mother and others led a hunger strike to free him and fellow political prisoners. Their efforts brought about a show trial at which Koigi was sentenced to four more years in prison and "six strokes of the cane," and escaped Kenya—and probably execution—only through the exertions of human rights groups and the government of Norway.
KOIGI WA WAMWERE is a political activist and writer. Born in Kenya in 1949, he has been fighting for social change in his home country for decades. He was imprisoned in Kenya five times between 1975 and 1996, spending a total of thirteen years in prison, including periods during which he was tortured. His execution was averted only by the combined efforts of the Norwegian government and human rights activists around the world. Today, wa Wamwere continues to put his life on the line for human rights, inspiring those around him with his clear vision and personal strength. Wa Wamwere lives in New York City and Kenya.