Academic journal article African Studies Review

Never Be Silent: Publishing and Imperialism in Kenya, 1884-1963

Academic journal article African Studies Review

Never Be Silent: Publishing and Imperialism in Kenya, 1884-1963

Article excerpt

Shiraz Durrani. Never Be Silent: Publishing and Imperialism in Kenya, 1884-1963. London: Vita Books/Mau Mau Research Centre, 2006. xi + 272 pp. Bibliography. Index. £20.00. Paper.

African historians in Kenya have long been familiar with Uhuru and the Kenya Indians by Dana April Seidenberg (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1983), and with Robert J. Gregory's India and East Africa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). This volume by Shiraz Durrani will be a very welcome addition to the researcher unfamiliar with the role of South Asians, or "Wahindi," in the struggle for Kenya's independence. It is at once a research document to be used by discerning aficionados and a resource for those not constrained by the lack of strict footnotes. The author tells us in the preface that he has been involved with the Kenyan underground struggles, and much of this detail informs the text. The pages on the banned publications are particularly valuable, for they remind us that the struggles continue, that they did not begin yesterday, and that the spirit of humanity remains uncowed by all those forces dedicated to the suppression of African voices, in the past, present, and in the future.

Where is Shiraz coming from? In Breaking the Culture of Silence he tells us that he is a veteran of the anticolonial struggles, having been initiated while serving as a "progressive" librarian at the University of Nairobi from as far back as 1979, before his journey led him to exile in Britain in 1984. Though he touches on various aspects of his own struggles, his text brings out a masterly record of the broader anticolonial struggles in Kenya. …

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