ISBN 9789966961501
Pages 305
Dimensions 229 x 152 mm
Published 1997
Publisher Zand Graphics, Kenya
Format Paperback

Challenge to Colonialism

The Struggle of Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee for Equal Rights in Kenya

by Zarina Patel

Many in Kenya and outside have attempted to write or indeed un-write the country’s history. Zarina Patel, the subject’s maternal granddaughter, here rebuilds the story of Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee, the first non-white in Kenya to be appointed to represent Indian interests in the Legislative Council. Arguably under-recognised by history, Jeevanjee was an uncompromising advocate on behalf of his Indian constituency, and opponent of the colonial state and culture.

Zarina Patel unearths the history of one of the country’s political, entrepreneurial and moral colossus. In so doing, she writes the story of the Indian people in the East African Protectorate (Kenya) at the turn of the twentieth century, and of early resistance to colonial rule. Her writing demonstrates the complicated, but ultimately rich political and economic contribution of Asians to the multiracial land that became Kenya.

The account chronicles the life of Kenya’s ‘Grand Old Man’: his entrepreneurial ability, and his business involvement with the imperial British. It recounts how he built Nairobi and founded the East Africa Indian National Congress. Jeevanjee’s politics and beliefs led him to advocate non-racialism and equal rights for all. He interacted with African activists and African nationalist politics. He played a decisive role in launching the first important non-white media in the country, the African Standard, now the popular East African Standard.

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About the Author

Zarina Patel

Zarina Patel is a writer, artist, human rights and race relations activist, environmentalist and campaigner for social justice. Her role is saving the Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi from bulldozing and privatisation provided the inspiration for this book. She is a leading authority on Kenyan South Asian history, and editor of the journal Awaaz, which focuses on South Asian history and culture in the national context.

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