contact zones nrb

Text Series

In the increasingly globalizing scene of intellectual exchange the contributions from East Africa are missing. One of the reasons is that due to the profit-orientated publishing industry in Kenya it’s hardly possible for intellectuals to publish a book. They are therefore locally and globally not part of the discussion. The other reason is that institutions in the intellectual establishment are very weak; to spend money for intellectual publications is not a priority on their agenda.

These are the major problems the Text Series of Contact Zones NRB is confronting by publishing books because of their intellectual demand not their promising profit.
The Text Series is published in collaboration with the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation.

Joyce Nyairo - [email protected] Trends, Identities and the Politics of Belonging

344 pages, English
Edited by Gitau Warigi
Nairobi 2015
ISBN:978 – 9966 – 071 – 06 – 4
Kenya: KSH 1000

"[email protected]" is a book about the intersection of culture, identity and politics over the fifty years of Kenya’s independence. It tries to answer questions about how the state defines individuals and the means by which individuals shape their own sense of belonging. Joyce Nyairo rummages through a vast corpus of cultural productions to find the evidence for her claims—court cases, Soap operas, songs, obituaries, matatu slogans, NGOlingo, SMSs, emails, Tweets and the longer, autobiographical stories that Kenyans write about the people that they think they are. Some of her arguments about the Constitution of Kenya 2010 are decidedly radical. But her observations of the everyday ways and places in which Kenyans define themselves force one to think through the complex relationship between the Constitution and culture. Joyce Nyairo's work reflects a deep concern for Kenya and Kenyans, but it is also not afraid to laugh at the worst of their endemic follies and failures. - Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice/President, Supreme Court of Kenya

Nicola Lauré al-Samarai - Creating Spaces. Non-Formal Art/s Education and Vocational Training for Artists in Africa between Cultural Policies and Cultural Funding

302 pages, English
Edited by Goethe-Institut South Africa, Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, Henrike Grohs
Nairobi 2014
ISBN 978–9966–071–00–2
Out of stock
Published in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut South-Africa

The field of non-formal art/s education and vocational training for artists in Africa leads a shadowy existence. Although embracing the vital interface of education/art/culture, related approaches and projects frequently fail to meet the prevalent funding frames. However, African actors have long been autonomously contouring and shaping the interstitial space of non-formality with their ideas, concepts, and practice. What concrete form does their work take? What basic conditions is it subject to? Which formative effects are caused by current cultural and funding policies? These and other questions are elaborated in this volume with special reference to five actors in South Africa, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia.

The authors are:
Nicola Lauré al-Samarai, Fouad Asfour, Judith Reker, Rangoato Hlasane
and Malose Malahlela

Translated versions of this book are available in French and in German.

Naomi L. Shitemi and Eunice K. Kamaara - Wanjiku. A Kenyan Sociopolitical Discourse

334 pages, English
Edited by Naomi L. Shitemi and Eunice K. Kamaara
Nairobi 2014
ISBN 978–9966–1553–9–9
Out of stock
Published in cooperation with the Ford Foundation

It all started with Moi asking the question: “What does Wanjiku know about constitution making?” In answering Moi, and mainly popularized by the brilliant cartoonist, Gado, Wanjiku has displayed all the great qualities of the ordinary Kenyan. She has been a humorist, philosopher, ideologue, politician, a patriotic feminist, a theologian, historian and literary critic. She delights in laughing at the visionless of the Kenyan elite and the opportunistic middle classes. She is multi-racial, multi-regional, multi-gendered, multi-generational, multiregional, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic. She constantly calls for nationhood and unity in our diversity.
She is the political leader Kenya yearns for. She remains a beacon of the hope that a just Kenya and a just world are still possible.
Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of Kenya

The essays in this book, edited by the late Naomi L. Shitemi and Eunice K. Kamaara, refer to Wanjiku’s role in matters of different national issues, such as constitution making, the church and the abortion debate, her representation in the Kenyan popular media, Mungiki, and HIV/AIDS. By providing an understanding of how Wanjiku rightly anchors herself in national decisions, this study becomes an extremely important addition to the body of literature on democracy and governance in Kenya.

The authors are:
Hazel O. Ayanga, Emily Choge-Kerama, Eunice K. Kamaara, Kivutha Kibwana, Jepchirchir Kiplagat, Harrison M.K. Maithya, Abraham K. Mulwo, Rose Musyoka, Godfrey Mwampembwa, David Nderitu, Peter Ngau, Anne Njoroge, Sheila C.W. Ali, Ryanga, Naomi L. Shitemi, Benard Mwori Sorre, Wendy Taylor, James Wachira, Busolo Wegesa

Mbugua Wa Mungai – Nairobi’s Matatu Men. Portrait of a Subculture

254 pages, English
Edited by Kimani Njogu
Nairobi 2013
ISBN: 978-9966-1553-5-1
Out of stock
Published in cooperation with Twaweza Communications

"Nairobi’s Matatu Men. Portrait of a Subculture” marks the beginning of our Text series that pays tribute to the academic efforts in East Africa. Due to a rather commercial publishing industry and lack of relevant institutions, most of Kenya’s well-respected intellectuals never published a book, not even the most important work of their career: their dissertation. The consequence of this is dramatic as they are not part of a global, intellectual discussion.

Mbugua Wa Mungai tells the story of a subculture that has been iconic to Nairobi’s everyday life since the 1950s: Nairobi’s privately-owned mini buses which provide public transport. He takes this culture as an entry point into a discussion of broader issues about Nairobi and Kenyan society. The author’s previous work has inspired many scholars to interrogate various aspects of popular culture in other African cities. This book, his main academic work and a seminal contribution of Cultural Studies from Africa, opens new trajectories for the understanding of popular culture and urban life.