restricted access Colonial Violence, Postcolonial Violations: Violence, Landscape, and Memory in Kenyan Fiction

One of the most persistent concerns of Kenyan literature is violence generated by colonial injustice and perpetuated in independent Kenya through unaltered colonial structures and institutions. In their fiction, writers discussed here demonstrate complex linkages between colonial violence, the violent responses to it, and the violations of the rights of citizens in the postcolonial nation-state. Violence is seen as a crucial tool to both revolutionary nationalism and the constitution of the revolutionary subject, while colonial representation of land and its inhabitants becomes a form of epistemic violence to the extent that it involves immeasurable disruption and erasure of local cultural systems. Colonial representation aimed at the suppression of the difference of the "other" is countered in Kenya literature through a grammar of contestation that constructs not only a counterdiscourse to colonial ideologies of conquest and domination but also a liberation aesthetics that justifies anticolonial violence while legitimating postcolonial struggles.