- Series C: Critical Perspective on Education and Heritage
- GR 358
- Start time:
- 13 September, 2008 at 11:00 (UTC+0)
- Session slots:
Author:Ben Knighton (Oxford Centre for Mission Studies)
Paper long abstract:
President Kenyatta’s home at Gatũndũ was used as the venue for a secret oath-taking scheme designed to cover all Agĩkũyũ and to unite them politically during the crisis his government faced with the antagonism of the Luo. How much was this unusual exercise in independent Africa an effective mobilization of an ethnopolitical constituency for the entrenchment of a national government? Could the Agĩkũyũ either be taken for granted by this method following the divisions and government propaganda over the Mau Mau oathing or was any means to unity impossible? How politicized were the Agĩkũyũ who participated at Gatũndũ or in their locations? How did they respond to this secret, invented ritual? Are they able to talk about it openly even now or does their primary loyalty remain to their ‘community’? Did the responses of the mainstream churches nullify any advantages of the exercise?
The primary source for tackling these questions, which involve the loyalty and identity of the Agĩkũyũ with the leader universally acknowledged to have struggled longest against the colonialists, is lengthy interview material, recorded 2005-7 with a cross-section of ordinary Agĩkũyũ on the periphery and in the centre of Gĩkũyũ politics. Their memory of this haunting experience displays a range of illuminating reactions, rich in political meaning to this day.
Author:George Ogola (University of Central Lancashire)
Paper long abstract:
Amongst the largest growing diasporas in the world has been the African diaspora(s). Although the movement of Africans from Africa to Western metropolises has a long history, it has particularly intensified in the postcolonial milieu as the continent gets integrated into the dynamics of the globalisation processes. Accelerating this movement has been state failure in the continent resulting in social, economic and political instability, inevitably inducing flight. Like other African countries, Kenya has a huge and growing diasporic community in the West, primary based in the United States and Europe. This diaspora now reportedly contributes over US$ 2 billion to Kenya annually, becoming the largest single source of external capital into the country. This unremitting attachment to the â€˜motherâ€™ country raises fundamental questions around identity and how this diaspora defines itself in relation to Kenya as home, homeland and nation-state. This paper seeks to examine this relationship. The paper looks at how the diasporic experience constructs the Kenyan diasporic publicsâ€™ identities online. The paper argues that this digital space is unique, its distinctiveness located precisely in its ability to function as an enabling technology allowing for cross-border interaction but also as a political and cultural space affirming but also contesting normative representations of identity. But, while allowing for the construction of (new) forms of identity both of self and community, such constructions, the paper argues, are not necessarily ahistorical. Identities may be 'fragile subjectivities' but they are also necessarily experiential and indeed spatially locatable.
Paper long abstract:
This paper examines whether there is a relationship between NGO activity in Kenya and its poverty profile nationally. It uses survey data from the Welfare Monitoring Survey 111 reported in the Second Poverty Report Kenya 1997 and a recent report by the Kenyan Central Bureau of Statistics that provides spatial maps of poverty in Kenya. This information is analysed with details on NGO activity provided by the NGO Council Directory 2003. Results show little pattern between NGO activity and areas of high poverty incidence and poverty depth nationally. On the contrary, it shows that NGO activity is highly related to urban population even though poverty incidence and poverty depth are comparatively lower, demonstrating a strong urban bias in NGO resource allocation.