This Friday night at 9pm, four stars of Coronation Street will appear in Corrie Goes to Kenya, the first of two documentaries on ITV1. The programmes follow Sue Cleaver, Ryan Thomas, Brooke Vincent and Ben Price as they visit Mombasa, where they will use their thespian skills to challenge the misconceptions around HIV/AIDS.
Colonisation and its impact on the colonised is rarely a topic of sustained public conversation in Britain. It is not even a tangential topic. It is simply ignored, elided with very infrequent and brief exceptions such as the one prompted now by the case of Kenyan survivors of torture and other human rights abuses of British rule in Kenya.
The Mau Mau, it must be said, were vile. After swearing to magical oaths, they butchered children, they tortured, mutilated and murdered - mostly Africans - who would not join their movement. The Kenyan government now calls them heroes, and has a national day in October to honour them, which is a despicable re-writing of history. But the British response to the uprising was also brutal, driven by the atavistic fears of the settlers in the so-called White Highlands, commonly regarded as the most snobbish and racist in the Empire.