Authors
Gail Presbey
University of Detroit Mercy
Abstract
The challenges of building community based on a common identity that also respects differences has two different kinds of chasms to cross. There is the division of ethnic groups, and there is also the generational gap. Given recent problems of ethnic violence that broke out during the December 2007 elections, can contemporary Kenyans build community, coming to common understanding with others on issues such as value and identity? This is not a new problem. It has often been expressed as the need to develop a common Kenyan “national culture.” After a survey including Okot p’Bitek, Frantz Fanon, Bethwell Ogot and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s contribution to the topic in the context of the 1960s and 70s, I will then go on to discuss the contribution of Kenyan Philosophy professor Henry Odera Oruka, who was greatly influenced by the ongoing discussions regarding national culture when he began his sage philosophy project – a project he clearly described as being able to play a role in the creation of Kenyan national culture. I explore some of Odera Oruka’s unpublished work on this topic. Chaungo Barasa has continued this project. I move on to survey how current academics in Kenya are working to describe and forge national values as a meaningful alternative to Kenyan government ongoing endeavors to promote culture as a tourist commodity.
Keywords nationalism  ethnic violence  culture  Kenya  Odera Oruka  Ngugi wa Thiong'o
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DOI 10.1177/0392192113493726
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References found in this work BETA

The Tripartite in Philosophic Sagacity.F. Ochieng’-Odhiambo - 2006 - Philosophia Africana 9 (1):17-34.
African Sage Philosophy and Socrates: Midwifery and Method.Gail M. Presbey - 2002 - International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (2):177-192.

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