Gakaara Wanjau’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

Intro Kenyan writer
Was Writer
From Kenya
Type Literature
Gender male

1921, Nyeri County, Kenya


(aged 80 years)

Noma Award for Publishing in Africa 1984

Gakaara wa Wanjaũ (1921–30 March 2001) was a prolific Gĩkũyu author, historian, editor and publisher from Kenya.

Table of Contents


He was born in Nyeri District, Kenya, 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 in the mid-forties when 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.

Gakaara wa Wanjaũ died on 30 March 2001, and was interred in Karatina. Gakaara left a personal archive of more than 7,000 pages, a large proportion of which had been composed during his detention in the 1950s. Works of Gakaara wa Wanjau is archived at the Center of African Studies Library, University of Cambridge which was sourced from the Yale University Library microfilm collection of the Gakaara wa Wanjaũ papers.


  • Riũa Rĩtaanathũa
  • O Kĩrĩma Ngaagũa
  • Mageria Nomo Mahota
  • Ngwenda Ũũũnjurage
  • Marebeta Ikũmi ma wendo
  • Mwandiki wa Mau Mau Ithaamirio-ini
  • Nyĩmbo cia Mau Mau: iria ciarehithirie wiyathi: gũkũngũĩra mĩaka 25 haraambee!: Nyayo!
  • Uhoro wa Ugurani
  • Mũrutani wa thiomi ithatũ hamwe = Mwalimu wa lugha tatu pamoja = A teacher of three languages together
  • Mĩhĩrĩga ya aagĩkũyũ / rĩandĩkĩtwo nĩ Gakaara wa Wanjaũ