Dec 1, 2022

Land stolen by the British to grow Tea

People were uprooted from their ancestral land after British colonialists conducted soil tests, which found that Indigenous people lived in the very fertile land, ideal for growing tea. The colonialists forcefully evicted the clans who had lived there for generations, and unleashed horrific violence on them, in order to subdivide the land and sell it for tea plantations. 200,000 acres of the ancestral land are still owned by several British tea companies, including Lipton – which was owned by Unilever until July – Finlay's, and Williamson Tea. When contacted by VICE World News, none of these companies responded to a request for comment. Finlay’s, which boasts on its website of harvesting 28 million kilograms of tea annually from over 25,000 acres of land in Kericho, states that it drives local “positive economic, social and environmental change.” In July, Unilever sold its tea business, Ekaterra, to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII for €4.5 billion ($4.5 billion, £3.9 billion). Chepkwony said. “Because we are still landless, we remember all of the things that happened,” she said, sharing that intergenerational trauma continues to impact the youth. “I hope that one of these days, we will get compensation while I am still alive,” she said. Chepkwony, who sends her condolences to King Charles III on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, has a message for him too: “I'm asking him to come [to Kenya] and pay damages, and ask for forgiveness. If he does, I will forgive the British, and they will have peace on their land.”