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Grasp the Shield Firmly the Journey is Hard Cover

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Grasp the Shield Firmly the Journey is Hard

A History of Luo and Bantu migrations to North Mara, (Tanzania) 1850-1950

This book is a compilation of oral histories about the movement of Luo and some Bantu-speaking peoples. It includes histories of many clans or ethnic groups, and how drought, warfare, disease, and competition over pastoral resources in western Kenya forced them to look for a land that they could call their own. Highly entertaining, the stories cross over from pre-colonial to post-colonial eras, with tales of fooling the colonial officers, winning battles and producing miracles. Although warriors and chiefs play a critical part in the stories so too do unlikely actors such as women, prophets, and common farmers. As one of the elders put it, ìWithout history you are like wild animalsÖ you need to know where you came from and who you are.î People with kinship connections to the ethnic groups represented here will delight in the references to places, people, kin groups and events. Residents of western Kenya will be able to trace some of their genealogies to North Mara and vice versa. Historians and anthropologists will find in this book a rich primary source for their own research. Those interested in cultural change will find this a fascinating case of Luo assimilation: events chronicled in this book are still underway and observable in communities today. Producing the text in both Swahili and English ensures that local people will have access to these histories for their own learning and on-going discussions about the past.

Imagining Serengeti Cover

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Imagining Serengeti

A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Time to the Present

Jan Bender Shetler

Long before the creation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the people of the western Serengeti had established settlements and interacted with the environment in ways that created a landscape we now misconstrue as natural. Western Serengeti peoples imagine the environment not as a pristine wilderness, but as a differentiated social landscape that embodies their history and identity. Conservationist literature has ignored these now-displaced peoples and relegated them to the margins of modern society. Their oral traditions, however, provide the means for seeing the landscape from a new perspective.

Imagining Serengeti allows us to see the Serengeti landscape as a book of memory that preserves the ways in which western Serengeti peoples have actively transformed their environment and their societies. Moreover, it strengthens the case for involving local communities in conservation efforts that will preserve African environments for the future. Using a new methodology to analyze precolonial oral traditions, Jan Shetler identifies core spatial images, which are then recontextualized into historical time periods through the use of archaeological, linguistic, ethnographic, ecological, and archival evidence. Imagining Serengeti reconstructs a socioenvironmental history of landscape memory of the western Serengeti spanning the last eighteen hundred years.

Islam and Politics in East Africa Cover

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Islam and Politics in East Africa

The Sufi Order in Tanzania

August H. Nimtz Jr.

Islam and Politics in East Africa was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Focusing on the interplay of religion, society, and politics, August Nimtz examines the role of sufi tariqas (brotherhoods) in Tanzania, where he observed an African Muslim society at first hand. Nimtz opens this book with a historical account of Islam in East Africa, and in subsequent chapters analyzes the role of tariqas in Tanzania and, more specifically, in the coastal city of Bagamoyo. Using a conceptual framework derived from contemporary political theories on social cleavages and individual interests. Nimtz explains why the tariqa is important in the process of political change.

The fundamental cleavage in Muslim East Africa, he notes, is that of "whites" versus blacks. Nimtz contends that the tariqus, in serving the interest of blacks (that is, Africans), became in turn vehicles for the mass mobilization of African Muslims during the anti-colonial struggle. In Bagamoyo he finds a similar process and, in addition, reveals that the tariqas have served African interests in opposition to those of "whites" because of the individual benefits they provide. At the same time, Nimtz concludes, the social structure of East African Muslim society has ensured that Africans would be particularly attracted to these benefits. This work will interest both observers of African political development and specialists in the Islamic studies.

Lost People Cover

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Lost People

Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar

David Graeber

Betafo, a rural community in central Madagascar, is divided between the descendants of nobles and descendants of slaves. Anthropologist David Graeber arrived for fieldwork at the height of tensions attributed to a disastrous communal ordeal two years earlier. As Graeber uncovers the layers of historical, social, and cultural knowledge required to understand this event, he elaborates a new view of power, inequality, and the political role of narrative. Combining theoretical subtlety, a compelling narrative line, and vividly drawn characters, Lost People is a singular contribution to the anthropology of politics and the literature on ethnographic writing.

Mau Mau’s Children Cover

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Mau Mau’s Children

The Making of Kenya’s Postcolonial Elite

David P. Sandgren; Foreword by Thomas Spear

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.

Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari Cover

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Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari

Swahili lecturer and author in Germany

This book presents a study of the life history of Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari (c. 1869 - 1927). Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari grew up and studied Islamic Sciences in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. He became a Swahili lecturer and author in Germany and is known to have written Desturi za Wasuaheli, an important work in Swahili culture. The book introduces the wider historical context of his writings, and, in particular, reconstructs the racism and discrimination in both the colonial and metropolitan contexts, features which negatively influenced his career and his life as a whole. The study also offers insights into contributions of the colonized to the study of African languages and cultures during this same historical context.

Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya Cover

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Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya

Leadership, Representation, and Social Change

Ousseina D. Alidou

In education, journalism, legislative politics, social justice, health, law, and other arenas, Muslim women across Kenya are emerging as leaders in local, national, and international contexts, advancing reforms through their activism. Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya draws on extensive interviews with six such women, revealing how their religious and moral beliefs shape reform movements that bridge ethnic divides and foster alliances in service of creating a just, multicultural, multiethnic, and multireligious democratic citizenship.

            Mwalim Azara Mudira opened a school of theology for Muslim women. Nazlin Omar Rajput of The Nur magazine was a pioneer in reporting on HIV/AIDS in the Muslim community. Amina Abubakar, host of a women's radio show, has publicly addressed the sensitive subject of sexual crimes against Muslim women. Two women who are members of parliament are creating new socioeconomic and political opportunities for girls and women, within a framework that still embraces traditional values of marriage and motherhood.
            Examining the interplay of gender, agency, and autonomy, Ousseina D. Alidou shows how these Muslim women have effected change in the home, the school, the mosque, the media, and more—and she illuminates their determination as actors to challenge the oppressive influences of male-dominated power structures. In looking at differences as opportunities rather than obstacles, these women reflect a new sensibility among Muslim women and an effort to redefine the meaning of women's citizenship within their own community of faith and within the nation.

Mutira Mission Cover

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Mutira Mission

An African Church Comes of Age in Kirinyaga, Kenya (1912-2012)

Cultural memory and narrative theology are well-known hallmarks of postmodern constructivist thought. The authorís research into a century of Anglican history in the Mount Kenya region has helped to establish the little known village of Mutira on the world map of the history of Christianity in Africa. This book, a composition of African biographies and mission history, chronicles how the Anglican Church has carried out its work in Mutira area in the past 100 years.

Nairobi Today Cover

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Nairobi Today

The Paradox of a Fragmented City

Despite being a large capital city in Africa in terms of size and its regional role, Nairobi is an unrecognised entity. For the majority of its inhabitants, the capital of Kenya is a transit point rather than a dwelling place. Since its origins, Nairobi has been a city of migrants, more predisposed to their rural roots than to their current city status. It is a non-conforming town, which conceals its urbanity more than it claims it, and whose identity remains evasive. Nairobi presents itself as a mosaic of residential areas which bring to mind the cityís history. The racial segregation that stratified the development of the colonial city has today disappeared, but it has given way to a form of social segregation. One must, therefore, not seek a unique identity in Nairobi, but rather, several identitiesóthose of different communities that comprise the city and whose dynamics are seen at village and residential estate level. However, Nairobi is also a city that is contradictory. This East African capital city is often associated with slums and crime, and their increase and growth stigmatises the failure of urban policies. Therefore, it is at these cracks and fringes of the city that we should seek out the identities and dynamics that have shaped the city for a century. Nairobi is a fragmented city that can be understood in steps. The 13 contributory articles in Nairobi Today thus reveal the city. This multidisciplinary collective work invites us to gain entry into certain areas of the city, to visit its communities and to familiarise ourselves with its formal and informal institutions. This is a requirement in order to fully understand what makes Nairobi what it is today.

Pan-Africanism or Pragmatism Cover

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Pan-Africanism or Pragmatism

Lessons of the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union

The Pan-Africanist debate is back on the historical agenda. The stresses and strains in the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar since its formation some forty years ago are not showing any sign of abating. Meanwhile, imperialism under new forms and labels continues to bedevil the continent in ever-aggressive, if subtle, ways. The political federation of East Africa, which was one of the main spin-offs of the Pan-Africanism of the nationalist period, is reappearing on the political stage, albeit in a distorted form of regional integration. It is in this context that the present study is situated. Backgrounding the major dramas of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar this book studies the personalities involved and their politics, and includes an account of the Dodoma CCM conference that toppled President Jumbe. It is also a detailed legal analysis of the union incorporating powerful new material.

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