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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how colonial Kenya’s African politicians cultivated intimacy—a feeling of common purpose and shared destiny—among disparate and divided people. Early African activists exerted a custodial authority over their people’s language, culture, and morality. They sought to amend decorum and conduct even as they represented their people’s interests in the public sphere. The second part of the chapter describes how, in the context of Kenya’s imminent independence, minority groups sought to reincorporate communities that had been separated by political borders. Convinced that majority rule was a mortal threat to their unique ways of life, minorities worked to convince British authorities to alter the shape of Kenya. That is why, as Kenya moved into a new epoch, there was a florescence of irredentisms, a revival of forgotten traditions, and a plumbing of ancient history.

Keywords: secessionism, minorities, language, borders, colonialism, irredentism, patriotism

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