This book explores the history of African womanhood in colonial Kenya. By focussing on key sociocultural institutions and practices around which the lives of women were organized, and on the protracted debates that surrounded these institutions and practices during the colonial period, it investigates the nature of indigenous, mission, and colonial control of African women.
The pertinent institutions and practices include the legal and cultural status of women, clitoridectomy, dowry, marriage, maternity and motherhood, and formal education. By following the effects of the all-pervasive ideological shifts that colonialism produced in the lives of women, the study investigates the diverse ways in which a woman’s personhood was enhanced, diminished, or placed in ambiguous predicaments by the consequences, intended and unintended, of colonial rule as administered by both the colonizers and the colonized. The study thus tries to historicize the reworkings of women’s lives under colonial rule. The transformations that resulted from these reworkings involved the negotiation and redefinition of the meaning of individual liberties and of women’s agency, along with the reconceptualization of kinship relations and of community.
These changes resulted in—and often resulted from—increased mobility for Kenyan women, who were enabled to cross physical, cultural, economic, social, and psychological frontiers that had been closed to them prior to colonial rule. The conclusion to which the experiences of women in colonial Kenya points again and again is that for these women, the exercise of individual agency, whether it was newly acquired or repeatedly thwarted, depended in large measure on the unleashing of forces over which no one involved had control. Over and over, women found opportunities to act amid the conflicting policies, unintended consequences, and inconsistent compromises that characterized colonial rule.
Elephants have fascinated humans for millennia. Aristotle wrote of them with awe; Hannibal used them in warfare; and John Donne called the elephant “Nature’s greatest masterpiece. . . . The only harmless great thing.” Their ivory has been sought after and treasured in most cultures, and they have delighted zoo and circus audiences worldwide for centuries. But it wasn’t until the second half of the twentieth century that people started to take an interest in elephants in the wild, and some of the most important studies of these intelligent giants have been conducted at Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
The Amboseli Elephants is the long-awaited summation of what’s been learned from the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP)—the longest continuously running elephant research project in the world. Cynthia J. Moss and Harvey Croze, the founders of the AERP, and Phyllis C. Lee, who has been closely involved with the project since 1982, compile more than three decades of uninterrupted study of over 2,500 individual elephants, from newborn calves to adult bulls to old matriarchs in their 60s. Chapters explore such topics as elephant ecosystems, genetics, communication, social behavior, and reproduction, as well as exciting new developments from the study of elephant minds and cognition. The book closes with a view to the future, making important arguments for the ethical treatment of elephants and suggestions to aid in their conservation.
The most comprehensive account of elephants in their natural environment to date, The Amboseli Elephants will be an invaluable resource for scientists, conservationists, and anyone interested in the lives and loves of these extraordinary creatures.
Everyone “knows” the Maasai as proud pastoralists who once dominated the Rift Valley from northern Kenya to central Tanzania.
But many people who identity themselves as Maasai, or who speak Maa, are not pastoralist at all, but farmers and hunters. Over time many different people have “become” something else. And what it means to be Maasai has changed radically over the past several centuries and is still changing today.
This collection by historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and linguists examines how Maasai identity has been created, evoked, contested, and transformed from the time of their earliest settlement in Kenya to the present, as well as raising questions about the nature of ethnicity generally.
A story with the power to change how people view the last years of colonialism in East Africa, The Boy Is Gone portrays the struggle for Kenyan independence in the words of a freedom fighter whose life spanned the twentieth century’s most dramatic transformations. Born into an impoverished farm family in the Meru Highlands, Japhlet Thambu grew up wearing goatskins and lived to stand before his community dressed for business in a pressed suit, crisp tie, and freshly polished shoes. For most of the last four decades, however, he dressed for work in the primary school classroom and on his lush tea farm.
The General, as he came to be called from his leadership of the Mau Mau uprising sixty years ago, narrates his life story in conversation with Laura Lee Huttenbach, a young American who met him while backpacking in Kenya in 2006. A gifted storyteller with a keen appreciation for language and a sense of responsibility as a repository of his people’s history, the General talks of his childhood in the voice of a young boy, his fight against the British in the voice of a soldier, and his long life in the voice of shrewd elder. While his life experiences are his alone, his story adds immeasurably to the long history of decolonization as it played out across Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
After four decades of British rule in colonial Kenya, a previously unknown ethnic name—“Luyia”—appeared on the official census in 1948. The emergence of the Luyia represents a clear case of ethnic “invention.” At the same time, current restrictive theories privileging ethnic homogeneity fail to explain this defiantly diverse ethnic project, which now comprises the second-largest ethnic group in Kenya.
In Cartography and the Political Imagination, which encompasses social history, geography, and political science, Julie MacArthur unpacks Luyia origins. In so doing, she calls for a shift to understanding geographic imagination and mapping not only as means of enforcing imperial power and constraining colonized populations, but as tools for articulating new political communities and dissent. Through cartography, Luyia ethnic patriots crafted an identity for themselves characterized by plurality, mobility, and cosmopolitan belonging.
While other historians have focused on the official maps of imperial surveyors, MacArthur scrutinizes the ways African communities adopted and adapted mapping strategies to their own ongoing creative projects. This book marks an important reassessment of current theories of ethnogenesis, investigates the geographic imaginations of African communities, and challenges contemporary readings of community and conflict in Africa.
This history of the political economy of Kenya is the first full length study of the development of the colonial state in Africa.
Professor Berman argues that the colonial state was shaped by the contradictions between maintaining effective political control with limited coercive force and ensuring the profitable articulation of metropolitan and settler capitalism with African societies.
This dialectic of domination resulted in both the uneven transformation of indigenous societies and in the reconstruction of administrative control in the inter-war period.
The study traces the evolution of the colonial state from its skeletal beginnings in the 1890s to the complex bureaucracy of the post-1945 era which managed the growing integration of the colony with international capital. These contradictions led to the political crisis of the Mau Mau emergency in 1952 and to the undermining of the colonial state.
The book is based on extensive primary sources including numerous interviews with Kenyan and British participants. The analysis moves from the micro-level of the relationship of the District Commissioners and the African population to the macro-level of the state and the political economy of colonialism.
Professor Berman uses the case of Kenya to make a sophisticated contribution to the theory of the state and to the understanding of the dynamics of the development of modern African political and economic institutions.
This is a sharply observed assessment of the history of the last half century by a distinguished group of historians of Kenya. At the same time the book is a courageous reflection in the dilemmas of African nationhood.
Professor B. A. Ogot says:
“The main purpose of the book is to show that decolonization does not only mean the transfer of alien power to sovereign nationhood; it must also entail the liberation of the worlds of spirit and culture, as well as economics and politics.
“The book also raises a more fundamental question, that is: How much independence is available to any state, national economy or culture in today’s world? It asks how far are Africa’s miseries linked to the colonial past and to the process of decolonization?
“In particular the book raises the basic question of how far Kenya is avoidably neo-colonial? And what does neo-colonial dependence mean? The book answers these questions by discussing the dynamic between the politics of decolonization, the social history of class formation and the economics of dependence. The book ends with a provocative epilogue discussing the transformation of the post-colonial state from a single-party to a multi-party system.”
The transcript from this historic trial, long thought destroyed or hidden, unearths a piece of the British colonial archive at a critical point in the Mau Mau Rebellion. Its discovery and landmark publication unsettles an already contentious Kenyan history and its reverberations in the postcolonial present.
Perhaps no figure embodied the ambiguities, colonial fears, and collective imaginations of Kenya’s decolonization era more than Dedan Kimathi, the self-proclaimed field marshal of the rebel forces that took to the forests to fight colonial rule in the 1950s. Kimathi personified many of the contradictions that the Mau Mau Rebellion represented: rebel statesman, literate peasant, modern traditionalist. His capture and trial in 1956, and subsequent execution, for many marked the end of the rebellion and turned Kimathi into a patriotic martyr.
Here, the entire trial transcript is available for the first time. This critical edition also includes provocative contributions from leading Mau Mau scholars reflecting on the meaning of the rich documents offered here and the figure of Kimathi in a much wider field of historical and contemporary concerns. These include the nature of colonial justice; the moral arguments over rebellion, nationalism, and the end of empire; and the complexities of memory and memorialization in contemporary Kenya.
Contributors: David Anderson, Simon Gikandi, Nicholas Githuku, Lotte Hughes, and John Lonsdale. Introductory note by Willy Mutunga.
Disability in Africa has received significant attention as a dimension of global development and humanitarian initiatives. Little international attention is given, however, to the ways in which disability is discussed and addressed in specific countries in Africa. Little is known also about the ways in which persons with disabilities have advocated for themselves over the past one hundred years and how their needs were or were not met in locations across the continent. Kenya has been on the forefront of disability activism and disability rights since the middle of the twentieth century. The country was among the first African states to create a legal framework addressing the rights of persons with disabilities, namely the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003. Kenya, however, has a much longer history of institutions and organizations that are dedicated to addressing the specific needs of persons with disabilities, and substantial developments have occurred since the introduction of the legal framework in 2003.
This story of Kenya in the decade before the outbreak of the Mau Mau emergency presents an integrated view of imperial government as well as examining the social and economic causes of the Kikuyu revolt. Dr. Throup combines traditional Imperial History with its emphasis on the high politics of “The Official Mind” in the Colonial Office or in Government House with the new African historiography that concentrates on the people themselves.
Sir Philip Mitchell was the proconsul chosen to reassert metropolitan authority. Under Kenyatta’s leadership the Kenya African Union mobilized a popular constituency among the peasantry. In Nairobi the Kikuyu street gangs linked up with the militant Kikuyu trade unions, led by Fred Kubai and Bildad Kaggia, to challenge Kenyatta’s leadership.
The Mau Mau movement, as it was called by the government, was an alliance between three groups of discontented Kikuyu: the urban unemployed and destitute, the dispossessed squatters from the White Highlands and the tenants and members of the junior clans in the Kikuyu reserves.
The revolt was a dominating factor in convincing the conservative imperial government that the cost of repression in the African colonies was not worth the troops and resources.
The Edge of Islam explores themes as wide-ranging as spirit possession, divination, healing rituals, madness, symbolic pollution, ideologies of money, linguistic code-switching, and syncretism and its alternatives. McIntosh shows how the differing versions of Islam practiced by Swahili and Giriama, and their differing understandings of personhood, have figured in the growing divisions between the two groups. Her ethnographic analysis helps to explain why Giriama view Islam, a supposedly universal religion, as belonging more deeply to certain ethnic groups than to others; why Giriama use Islam in their rituals despite the fact that so many do not consider the religion their own; and how Giriama appropriations of Islam subtly reinforce a distance between the religion and themselves. The Edge of Islam advances understanding of ethnic essentialism, religious plurality, spirit possession, local conceptions of personhood, and the many meanings of “Islam” across cultures.
This history of administrative thought and practice in colonial Kenya looks at the ways in which white people tried to engineer social change.
It asks four questions:
- Why was Kenya’s welfare operation so idiosyncratic and spartan compared with that of other British colonies?
- Why did a transformation from social welfare to community development produce further neglect of the very poor?
- Why was there no equivalent to the French tradition of community medicine?
- If there was a transformatory element of colonial rule that sought to address poverty, where and why did it fall down?
The answers offer revealing insight into the dynamics of rule in the late colonial period in Kenya.
"Kilimanjaro slowly takes shape as the night sounds die, its glaciated peak tinged pink in the early light. A solitary wildebeest stares motionless as if mesmerized by the towering mass; a small caravan of giraffe drifts across the plain in solitary file, necks undulating to the slow rhythm of their gangling stride. There is an inexplicable deja vu about the African savannas, as if some subliminal memory is tweaked by the birthplace of our hominid lineage." --from In the Dust of Kilimanjaro
In the Dust of Kilimanjaro is the extraordinary story of one man's struggle to protect Kenya's wildlife. World-renowned conservationist David Western -- who grew up in Africa and whose life is intertwined with the lives of its animals and indigenous peoples -- presents a history of African wildlife conservation and an intimate glimpse into his life as a global spokesperson and one of Kenya's most prominent citizens.
Beginning with his childhood adventures hunting in rural Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Western describes how and why the African continent came to hold such power over him. In lyrical prose, he recounts the years of solitary fieldwork in and around Amboseli National Park that led to his gradual awakening to what was happening to the animals and people there. His immersion in the culture and ecology of the region made him realize that without an integrated approach to conservation, one that involved people as well as animals, Kenya's most magnificent creatures would be lost forever.
His accounts of his friendships with the Maasai add a personal dimension to the book that gives the reader new appreciation for the centuries-old links between Africa's wildlife and people. Continued coexistence rather than segregation, he argues, offers the best hope for the world's wildlife. Western describes how his unique understanding of the potentially devastating problems in the region helped him pioneer a new approach to global wildlife conservation that balances the needs of people and wildlife without excluding one or the other.
More than an exceptional autobiography, In the Dust of Kilimanjaro is a riveting look at local and global efforts to preserve species and protect ecosystems. It is the definitive story of wildlife conservation in Africa with a strong and timely message about co-existence between humans and animals.
Working as merchants, skilled tradesmen, clerks, lawyers, and journalists, Indians formed the economic and administrative middle class in colonial Kenya. In general, they were wealthier than Africans, but were denied the political and economic privileges that Europeans enjoyed. Moreover, despite their relative prosperity, Indians were precariously positioned in Kenya. Africans usually viewed them as outsiders, and Europeans largely considered them subservient. Indians demanded recognition on their own terms. Indians in Kenya chronicles the competing, often contradictory, strategies by which the South Asian diaspora sought a political voice in Kenya from the beginning of colonial rule in the late 1890s to independence in the 1960s.Indians’ intellectual, economic, and political connections with South Asia shaped their understanding of their lives in Kenya. Sana Aiyar investigates how the many strands of Indians’ diasporic identity influenced Kenya’s political leadership, from claiming partnership with Europeans in their mission to colonize and “civilize” East Africa to successful collaborations with Africans to battle for racial equality, including during the Mau Mau Rebellion. She also explores how the hierarchical structures of colonial governance, the material inequalities between Indians and Africans, and the racialized political discourses that flourished in both colonial and postcolonial Kenya limited the success of alliances across racial and class lines. Aiyar demonstrates that only by examining the ties that bound Indians to worlds on both sides of the Indian Ocean can we understand how Kenya came to terms with its South Asian minority.
Fifty years after the declaration of the state of emergency, Mau Mau still excites argument and controversy, not least in Kenya itself. Mau Mau and Nationhood is a collection of essays providing the most recent thinking on the uprising and its aftermath.
The work of well-established scholars as well as of young researchers with fresh perspectives, Mau Mau and Nationhood achieves a multilayered analysis of a subject of enduring interest. According to Terence Ranger, Emeritus Rhodes Professor, Oxford, “In some ways the historiography of Mau Mau is a supreme example not only of ambiguity and complexity, but also of redemption of a topic once thought incapable of rational analysis.”
John Lonsdale says in his introduction:
“This is the oral evidence of the Kikuyu villagers with whom Greet Kershaw lived as an aid worker during the Mau Mau ‘Emergency’ in the 1950s, and which is now totally irrecoverable in any form save in her own field notes.
Professor Kershaw has uncovered long local histories of social tension which could have been revealed by no other means than patient enquiry, of both her neighbour’s memory and government archives…
Nobody, whether Kikuyu participant, Kenyan or European scholar, has provided such startlingly authoritative ethnographic insights into the values, fears and expectations of Kikuyu society and thus of the motivation of Kikuyu action…
Her data suggests, as other scholars have also accepted, that there never was a single such movement and that none of its members, even those who supposed themselves to be its leaders, ever saw it whole, not because they did not have a political aim, but because that agenda was contested within different political circles over which they had no control and of which they may scarcely have had any knowledge.
And why is this finding important? It is because others, including almost all the movement’s enemies, did see Mau Mau whole in order to try to comprehend it, a first step towards defeating it.”
The book breaks new ground in following the story of the participants of the rural movement during the decade after the defeat of the Mau Mau. New archival sources and interviews provide exciting material on the mechanics of the sociology of decolonization and on the containment of rural radicalism in Kenya. For the first time an account of decolonization in Kenya based on primary sources is offered to the reader.
The Mau Mau was militarily crushed in the mid-fifties, but the struggle for land rights was only contained in the post independence era of Kenya. Kikuyu squatters on European estates who formed the backbone of this movement are the main subject of this book.
Furedi’s account considers how the radicalization of rural protest in the so-called White Highlands led to the Mau Mau explosion and how it was sustained during the subsequent fifteen years.
The book establishes a focus for discussion of these critical events through exploring the relationship between rural resistance and decolonization. The author argues that the main issue facing post-colonial policies in Kenya was to resolve the problems raised by the Mau Mau revolt.
Written from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a special emphasis on historical and political sociology, this book is aimed at students of African politics and political sociologists interested in rural revolution and revolt.
In 1963 David P. Sandgren went to Kenya to teach in a small, rural school for boys, where he remained for the next four years. These were heady times for Kenyans, as the nation gained its independence, approved a new constitution, and held its first elections. In the school where Sandgren taught, the sons of Gikuyu farmers rose to the challenges of this post colonial era and, in time, entered Kenyan society as adults, joining Kenya’s first generation of post colonial elites.
In Mau Mau’s Children, Sandgren has reconnects with these former students. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews, he provides readers with a collective biography of the lives of Kenya’s first postcolonial elite, stretching from their 1940s childhood to the peak of their careers in the 1990s. Through these interviews, Mau Mau’s Children shows the trauma of growing up during the Mau Mau Rebellion, the nature of nationalism in Kenya, the new generational conflicts arising, and the significance of education and Gikuyu ethnicity on his students' path to success.
An Essential Book for Runners of All Abilities
All of the Author’s Proceeds Go to Shoes4Africa to Support the Construction of Children’s Hospitals in Kenya
Kenya has produced the greatest concentration of world-class runners, and fellow athletes have long been intrigued by their remarkable success. Toby Tanser has devoted much of his professional career living and training among Kenyan runners in order to better understand the unique status of East African athletes. In More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way, the author builds upon the success of his acclaimed Train Hard, Win Easy, the first book to provide insights into the Kenyan "magic" that so many runners and coaches had sought. Instead of special foods or secret techniques, Tanser found that Kenyan runners simply trained incredibly hard, much harder than anyone had realized. By adapting their training regime—which includes three workouts a day—and following their example, runners, whether novices or champions, are able to improve both their performance and enjoyment in running. For those training for a marathon or any other distance race, this book is both practical and inspirational.
Divided into four parts, the book begins with a description of running in Kenya, the landscape, the physical conditions, and the people; the second part concentrates on details of Kenyan training camps, training methods, and their typical training diet; the third profiles individual runners and coaches from the past and present, with each explaining their approach to running so that readers can gain further insight into their methods. The book ends with a discussion on how the reader can adapt Kenyan training practices for their own running requirements. More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way is essential reading for runners of all levels and experience.
This book uses the Kenyan political system to address issues relevant to recent political developments throughout Africa.
The authors analyze the construction of the Moi state since 1978. They show the marginalization of Kikuyu interests as the political economy of Kenya has been reconstructed to benefit President Moi’s Kalenjin people and their allies. Mounting Kikuyu dissatisfaction led to the growth of demands for multi-party democracy.
The book places contemporary Kenyan politics and the 1992 election in their historical context, contrasting the present multi-party era with the previous one during the sixties.
The authors question the hopes for a “second independence” in Africa by demonstrating the problems faced by fledgling opposition parties in weak civil societies.
Kenya’s Muslim population comprises ethnic Arabs, Indians, and black Africans, and its status has varied historically. Under British rule, an imposed racial hierarchy affected Muslims particularly, thwarting the development of a united political voice. Drawing on a broad range of interviews and historical research, Ndzovu presents a nuanced picture of political associations during the postcolonial period and explores the role of Kenyan Muslims as political actors.
Barack Obama’s political ascendancy has focused considerable global attention on the history of Kenya generally and the history of the Luo community particularly. From politicos populating the blogosphere and bookshelves in the U.S and Kenya, to tourists traipsing through Obama’s ancestral home, a variety of groups have mobilized new readings of Kenya’s past in service of their own ends.
Through narratives placing Obama into a simplified, sweeping narrative of anticolonial barbarism and postcolonial “tribal” violence, the story of the United States president’s nuanced relationship to Kenya has been lost amid stereotypical portrayals of Africa. At the same time, Kenyan state officials have aimed to weave Obama into the contested narrative of Kenyan nationhood.
Matthew Carotenuto and Katherine Luongo argue that efforts to cast Obama as a “son of the soil” of the Lake Victoria basin invite insights into the politicized uses of Kenya’s past. Ideal for classroom use and directed at a general readership interested in global affairs, Obama and Kenya offers an important counterpoint to the many popular but inaccurate texts about Kenya’s history and Obama’s place in it as well as focused, thematic analyses of contemporary debates about ethnic politics, “tribal” identities, postcolonial governance, and U.S. African relations.
In February 1990 assailants murdered Kenya’s distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Ouko. The horror of the attack, the images of his mutilated and burned corpse, the evidence of a notorious cover-up, and the revelations of the pressures, conflicts, and fears he faced in his last weeks have engaged Kenya’s publics for years. The Risks of Knowledge minutely examines the multiple and unfinished investigations into the crime.
Among the probes was an extensive 1990 inquiry organized by a New Scotland Yard team invited to Kenya by the government, as well as an open public commission of inquiry appointed by President Daniel arap Moi. The commission ran for seventeen months in 1990-91 before the president shut it down. International and Kenyan unrest over Ouko’s brutal death brought increasing attention to corruption and violence associated with the Moi government, leading in late 1991 to multiparty politics and in December 2002 to the elections that ended the Moi era.
This powerfully argued book raises important issues about the production of knowledge and the politics of memory that will interest a large interdisciplinary audience.
In Seeing Like a Citizen, Kara Moskowitz approaches Kenya’s late colonial and early postcolonial eras as a single period of political, economic, and social transition. In focusing on rural Kenyans—the vast majority of the populace and the main targets of development interventions—as they actively sought access to aid, she offers new insights into the texture of political life in decolonizing Kenya and the early postcolonial world.
Using multisited archival sources and oral histories focused on the western Rift Valley, Seeing Like a Citizen makes three fundamental contributions to our understanding of African and Kenyan history. First, it challenges the widely accepted idea of the gatekeeper state, revealing that state control remained limited and that the postcolonial state was an internally varied and often dissonant institution. Second, it transforms our understanding of postcolonial citizenship, showing that its balance of rights and duties was neither claimed nor imposed, but negotiated and differentiated. Third, it reorients Kenyan historiography away from central Kenya and elite postcolonial politics. The result is a powerful investigation of experiences of independence, of the meaning and form of development, and of how global political practices were composed and recomposed on the ground in local settings.
The authors of this highly original book set out to remove the persistent boundary between the authors and readers of ethnography on one hand and the subjects of ethnography on the other – those who observe and those who are observed.
The authors use stories to reveal Siaya, the Luo-speaking area of Western Kenya down near the Lake but still surprisingly vulnerable to drought. There are the stories of survival by a woman with her carpenter husband in Nairobi, there is the launching of a boat as bride into the Lake and there is the great Boro Christmas disco riot. The book finishes with an Afterword on the burial of the lawyer S. M. Otiono that divided its whole of Kenya.
It is both written about and for the Luo. It brings together Luo ideas and debates about their own past and present with findings, arguments and questions produced about this “other people;” by outside scholars writing in their own disciplines. Among the Luo, what constitutes culture, what is correct behavior, what is history, are questions that are heavily fought over.
This is one of those rare books that makes students and other interested individuals question their own cultural preconceptions and what are the genuine concerns of academic disciplines.
This is a study of the genesis, evolution, adaptation and subordination of the Kikuyu squatter labourers, who comprised the majority of resident labourers on settler plantations and estates in the Rift Valley Province of the White Highlands. The story of the squatter presence in the White Highlands is essentially the story of the conflicts and contradictions that existed between two agrarian systems, the settler plantation economy and the squatter peasant option. Initially, the latter developed into a viable but much resented sub-system which operated within and, to some extent, in competition with settler agriculture. This study is largely concerned with the dynamics of the squatter presence in the White Highlands and with the initiative, self-assertion and resilience with which they faced their subordinate position as labourers. In their response to the machinations of the colonial system, the squatters were neither passive nor malleable but, on the contrary, actively resisted coercion and subordination as they struggled to carve out a living for themselves and their families….
It is a firm conviction of this study that Kikuyu squatters played a crucial role in the initial build-up of the events that led to the outbreak of the Mau Mau war.
—from the introduction
Mwenda Ntarangwi explores the Kenyan hip hop scene through the lens of Juliani's life and career. A born-again Christian, Juliani produces work highlighting the tensions between hip hop's forceful self-expression and a pious approach to public life, even while contesting the basic presumptions of both. In The Street Is My Pulpit, Ntarangwi forges an uncommon collaboration with his subject that offers insights into Juliani's art and goals even as Ntarangwi explores his own religious experience and subjective identity as an ethnographer. What emerges is an original contribution to the scholarship on hip hop's global impact and a passionate study of the music's role in shaping new ways of being Christian in Africa.
In twentieth-century Kenya, age and gender were powerful cultural and political forces that animated household and generational relationships. They also shaped East Africans’ contact with and influence on emergent colonial and global ideas about age and masculinity. Kenyan men and boys came of age achieving their manhood through changing rites of passage and access to new outlets such as town life, crime, anticolonial violence, and nationalism. And as they did, the colonial government appropriated masculinity and maturity as means of statecraft and control.
In An Uncertain Age, Paul Ocobock positions age and gender at the heart of everyday life and state building in Kenya. He excavates in unprecedented ways how the evolving concept of “youth” motivated and energized colonial power and the movements against it, exploring the masculinities boys and young men debated and performed as they crisscrossed the colony in search of wages or took the Mau Mau oath. Yet he also considers how British officials’ own ideas about masculinity shaped not only young African men’s ideas about manhood but the very nature of colonial rule.
An Uncertain Age joins a growing number of histories that have begun to break down monolithic male identities to push the historiographies of Kenya and empire into new territory.
Wangari Muta Maathai is one of Africa’s most celebrated female activists. Originally trained as a scientist in Kenya and abroad, Professor Maathai returned to her home country of Kenya with a renewed political consciousness. There, she began her long career as an activist, campaigning for environmental and social justice while speaking out against government corruption. In 2004, Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her leadership of the Green Belt Movement, a conservation effort that resulted in the restoration of African forests decimated during the colonial era.
In this biography, Tabitha Kanogo follows Wangari Maathai from her modest, rural Kenyan upbringing to her rise as a national figure campaigning for environmental and ecological conservation, sustainable development, democracy, human rights, gender equality, and the eradication of poverty until her death in 2011.
Though often associated with foreigners and refugees, many Somalis have lived in Kenya for generations, in many cases since long before the founding of the country. Despite their long residency, foreign and state officials and Kenyan citizens often perceive the Somali population to be a dangerous and alien presence in the country, and charges of civil and human rights abuses have mounted against them in recent years.
In We Do Not Have Borders, Keren Weitzberg examines the historical factors that led to this state of affairs. In the process, she challenges many of the most fundamental analytical categories, such as “tribe,” “race,” and “nation,” that have traditionally shaped African historiography. Her interest in the ways in which Somali representations of the past and the present inform one another places her research at the intersection of the disciplines of history, political science, and anthropology.
Given tragic events in Kenya and the controversy surrounding al-Shabaab, We Do Not Have Borders has enormous historical and contemporary significance, and provides unique inroads into debates over globalization, African sovereignty, the resurgence of religion, and the multiple meanings of being African.
Heather D. Switzer's interviews with over one hundred Kenyan Maasai schoolgirls challenge the widespread view of education as a silver bullet solution to global poverty. In their own voices, the girls offer incisive insights into their commitments, aspirations, and desires. Switzer weaves this ethnographic material into an astute analysis of historical literature, education and development documents, and theoretical literature. Maasai schoolgirls express a particular knowledge about themselves and provocative hopes for their futures. Yet, as Switzer shows, new opportunities force them to face, and navigate, new vulnerabilities and insecurities within a society that is itself in flux.
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