Tribalism In Kenya

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According to James Ogude, “The emergence of ethnic music in the (African) cities is contingent upon the democratisation of the political space and the promotion of the vernacular radio stations in the post-Moi dispensation in Kenya. These in turn have given impetus to the rise of new consumers and a unique experimentation with musical formats that draws on traditional and international genres to create a novel popular culture experience” (Ogude 2012, 147). Perhaps the greatest Kenyan example of “novel popular culture” that has arisen from the “democratisation of the political space” can be seen in the song Unbwoggable, written by Luo rap group Gidi Gidi Maji Maji who were based in Nairobi. The song Unbwogable originally was released as a…show more content…
The main tribes fighting for political power and survival are the Kikuyu’s, the Kalenjin’s and the Luo. Under Jomo Kenyatta, the Kikuyus enjoyed political and commercial control of the country at the expense of the Kalenjin and the Luo, under Moi the Kalenjin’s enjoyed preferential treatment. Tribalism has been a constant thorn in the side of Kenya’s fragile national identity, which the domination of some tribes and marginalisation of others prevalent in several aspects of daily life from political to society. This makes the case of “Unbwoggable” becoming an anthem of Kenyan nationality peculiar, because its roots are heavily found in the Luo tribe. In the song, several segments are written In Luo and seem to encourage those of the Luo community to engage in solidarity by practicing group values such as remembering those who help you, and carry you, whilst also heaping praise on Luo prominent figures such as Robert Ouko, Riala Odinga, and Tom…show more content…
To this day there is controversy as to whether or not Moi played a role in the deaths of these two politicians. These can be seen as a political gesture against the KANU government, criticising them through praising of Luo heroes which they attempted to silence. So how can a song that is so ethnically defined come to represent the greater Kenyan identity in such an ethnically fragmented country? To answer this we have to analyse the politicisation and interpretations ascribed to it by the public in the aftermath of its

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