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Posted on Thursday, 18 April 2013 17:11

Kwani? 07, An Eclectic Tapestry - Book

By Parselelo Kantai in Nairobi

The seventh edition of Kwani?, the Kenyan literary journal, is subtitled 'Majuu' – a sheng (street slang) reference to 'overseas' – and is a 570-page testament to the journal's diasporic roots.

 

Many of the writers who founded Kwani? almost a decade ago came of age in the diaspora, and in many of this edition's testimonies this generation of East Africans finds itself in what can be called a permanent state of diaspora.

Ugandan writer Doreen Baingana disrupts her humdrum middle-class existence at home – with all the certainties a law degree can bring – to work as an au pair in Italy.

She then wins the US visa lottery and begins a 20-year relationship with US immigration officials.

But it is through a younger generation of writers, such as Kenyan Mehul Gohil in Australia, that we are able to see that, even as diaspora has become less of an economic necessity, the fixity of racism, visible and invisible, remains.

Kwani? 07 is a rich, eclectic tapestry, tackling the new fluidities that now define 'home' – wherever that may be•



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