Diogenes 59 (3-4):48-59 (2012)

Gail Presbey
University of Detroit Mercy
National unity is important in Kenya, since ethnic divisions have sometimes become deadly. The imposed Coalition government and the recent new Constitution in 2010 were attempts to overcome division. But cultural divisions among the generations are just as much of a challenge as ethnic divisions, as the youth sometimes sideline the practices and worldviews of their elders, leaving people to wonder what binds people to each other as Kenyans? The idea of “national culture” has its pitfalls, bit seems necessary nevertheless, as explained by Frantz Fanon, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Okot ‘Bitek, and H. Odera Oruka. This article explores how ideas of “Kenyanness” have developed since Kenyan independence and the rejection of colonized mentality and education. Odera Oruka’s advocacy of “Sage Philosophy” as a project to pull Kenyans together, and more recent academics’ attempts to encourage civic education by articulating core Kenyan values are explored in depth. These scholarly and artistic efforts at describing or encouraging common identity are contrasted to efforts by the Ministry of Culture to construct (and “sell”) Kenya culture to tourists as a commodity.
Keywords Kenya  Culture  Nation  Odera Oruka  Ethnic conflict  National culture  Civic education  Kenya  Sage philosophy
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DOI 10.1177/0392192113493726
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References found in this work BETA

The Wretched of the Earth.Frantz Fanon - 1998 - In Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (ed.), African Philosophy: An Anthology. Blackwell. pp. 228--233.
African Sage Philosophy and Socrates: Midwifery and Method.Gail M. Presbey - 2002 - International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (2):177-192.

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