Roughly the size of Texas, this country on the equator is very diverse in its people and landscapes. Comprised of low coastal plains, treed savannas, arid deserts, cloud-covered mountains, and table-like plateaus, Kenya ranges in elevation from sea level to 17,057 feet at the top of Mount Kenya.
The country has over 70 different people groups living within its borders, divided into three linguistic categories (Bantu, Nilotic, and Cushitic) based upon the ancestry of language. The Bantu population is made up of tribes such as the Kikuyu and Kamba, the Nilotic by tribes such as the Maasai and Turkana, and the Cushitic by tribes such as the Rendille and Somali. Other language groups and people also reside in Kenya including Asians, Indians, ex-Patriate Americans and British.
Under British rule since the late nineteenth century, the people of Kenya sought their independence after World War II via the Mau Mau revolution in the 1950’s. The British granted the country independence in 1963. In 1964 the country became an official Republic, with Jomo Kenyatta as President. Subsequent elections have sometimes left the country in political and ethnic turmoil. In 2013 Uhuru Kenyatta succeeded Mwai Kibaki as the current President.
Facing Mount Kenya by Jomo Kenyatta
Dreams in a Time of War by Ngûgî wa Thiong’o
In the House of the Interpreter by Ngûgî wa Thiong’o
Birth of a Dream Weaver by Ngûgî wa Thiong’o
City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
For more reading, check out our Annotated Bibliography!