lisa monaghan

D. H. Johnson (2009). Tribe or nationality? The Sudanese diaspora and the Kenyan Nubis

The settlement of Sudanese soldier colonists throughout British East Africa was a legacy of colonial expansion and pacification. These settlements were developed from the institution of military slavery, which was marked by a close association of slave soldiers with the state and the isolation of military slave communities from the general populace. But once pacification was complete new policies representing new interests made the

presence of these non-indigenous Africans redundant. Terms of settlement altered after World War One, and the right of Sudanese, or Nubis, to remain in their original settlements came under attack. The largest, and most problematic, Sudanese colony in Kenya was the former military encampment of Kibera, on the edge of Nairobi. Sudanese claimed that land had been granted to them as a community ‘in perpetuity’ in lieu of a pension, and in recognition for their services to the Crown. The resulting struggle to retain land ownership in Kibera drew on ideas inherent in the old institution of military slavery and was presented in terms of a reciprocal loyalty between the Sudanese and the British Crown and Empire, rather than the specific legal jurisdiction of the Kenya Colony government. These arguments for a special status within the Empire have since been turned against the Nubis to deprive them of citizenship and land rights in post independence Kenya.

Category: Anthropology and History

Sub-category: Displacement and Protection of Civilian Sites, Regional


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