I love gumboots. I love all my 63 pairs of gumboots.
The History of Gumboots
Gumboots were first worn in the Battle of Waterloo, a battle by the British against Napolean’s army (French). The British and Germans, in gumboots were led by the Duke of Wellington (British). Hence the name, Wellingtons and “wellies.” 15,000 people were wounded or died in that battle.
World War II would see these three forces, the British, French and Germans pitted against each other in a war that introduced Africa to the idea of equality for all in a just world.
Gumboots and the #Harambee63 Exhibition
In many wars in present day Africa, armies (mainly guerrilla armies) spend money on uniforms but cannot afford proper army boots, so they use gumboots.
Where gumboots pre-war may have been used to protect farmers as they milked their cows, in war, they protect the feet of soldiers.
The soldiers themselves are ordinary people who are propelled into life on the frontline.
War changes the lives of ordinary people.
Gumboots in this exhibition metaphorically represent the exploration of the duality of the key faces of Africa’s history (1884 – 1963). To some these people were heroes and to others they were terrorists.
Each pair of gumboots represents 63 people who made Africa what it is today.
63 people who created Kenya.