Posts tagged ‘IFRA’

Applications for (Re)searching the Middle Class in Nairobi, for Sept. 28 – Oct. 3 2015 @ IFRA

Information on the poster.

August 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

Book Launch: Kenya’s Past as Prologue – Voters, Violence and the 2013 General Election, Jun. 25 2015 @ IFRA/BIEA

Book Launch: Kenya’s Past as Prologue. Voters, Violence and the 2013 General Election,” edited by M-A. Fouéré, S. Mwangi, M. Ndeda & C. Thibon (2015)

Date: June 25, 2015
Time: 3 pm

“During the run-up to Kenya’s 2013 general elections, crucial political and civic questions were raised. Could past mistakes, especially political and ethnic-related violence be avoided this time round? Would the spectre of the 2007 post- electoral violence positively or negatively affect debates and voting? How would politicians, electoral bodies such as the IEBC, the Kenyan civil society and the international community weigh in on the elections?…The book’s centre stage tries to explore Kenya’s inescapable past and whether it would prepare the scene for a new political order.”

Published by Twaweza Communications

June 17, 2015 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

IFRA Seminar: Beyond Sex & Money – Thinking Culture In Afro-European Intimacies, Jun. 16 2015 @ IFRA/BIEA

by Dr. Altaïr Després – Univerity Paris 1 Sorbonne

Date: June 16, 2015
Venue: IFRA
Time: 11 am
Entry: Prior RSVP – at:

Focusing on the case of Western women travelling to Zanzibar, this paper seeks to explore how sexual intimacy with indigenous men can be a space for cultural transactions. While the economic issue is currently at the heart of the anthropological and sociological understanding of “transactional sex” or “sex-tourism” in Africa, little consideration is given to the role of symbolic and cultural resources in the economy of transnational sexuality and desire.
My hypothesis is that in a globalized sexual market not only do cultural stereotypes shape desire (intimate tourist encounters sometimes originate in racial stereotypes about the sexual performances of African men for example), but sexuality can also be a means to access cultural resources. By focusing on cultural transactions, the paper examines how, on the one hand, Western women engaged in intimate relations with African men discover local practices which are less accessible from ordinary tourist circuits, as their African boyfriends play the role of “cultural brokers” and teach them about local customs. On the other hand, this paper analyses to what extent, through intimacy, Western women also act as brokers, mobilizing their (cultural) skills for their partner by teaching him a foreign language or using their knowledge to formalize a business.

June 12, 2015 at 1:55 pm 1 comment

RWANDA UNDER THE RPF: Assessing Twenty Years of Post-Conflict Governance, May 30 2014 @ IFRA/BIEA

Date & Time: Friday, 30th May 2014, 6.00PM – 7.30PM
Venue: British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi

Panel discussion and journal special issue launch.

1. Jason Mosley (Research associate, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and managing editor, Journal of Eastern African Studies)
2. Phil Clark (Reader in comparative and international politics, SOAS, University of London)
3. Yolande Bouka (Researcher, Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, ISS Nairobi)

This panel discussion – which serves also as a launch of a special issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies (JEAS) on the same topic – will debate the nature of Rwandan politics under the RPF and its impact on the post-genocide reconstruction process, regional relations and the well-being of everyday Rwandans.

For more information on the event, please click this link.

PS: Remember to RSVP by sending an email to

May 28, 2014 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

BIEA Seminar: Rain, Power, Sovereignty & The Materiality Of Signs In Southern Zimbabwe, Apr. 16 2014 @ BIEA / IFRA

Rain, Power, Sovereignty and The Materiality Of Signs In Southern Zimbabwe

Date: Wednesday 16th April 2014
Venue: British Institute in Eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa, Nairobi
Time: 11.00 am
Entry: Prior RSVP. For more information please contact or call +254 735 260 004

Seminar by: Joost Fontein, University of Edinburgh
Chair: Sinoxolo Neo Musangi, British Institute in Eastern Africa

In 2010 a government meteorologist revealed that for much of the last decade, the Zimbabwean weather forecast had been censored on a daily basis by agents of the President’s Office. ‘This information’ he said ‘was seen as sensitive’. What this ‘sensitivity’ amounts to is the subject of this paper. It is hard to make sense of the government’s impulse to censor the weather forecast in the 2000s without reference to the localized re-configurations of authority over land and ‘re-making’ of the state that fast track land reform provoked. To the extent that fast track offered new opportunities for the realization of a diversity of localised aspirations and imagined futures that turned on access to land and fertile soils in divergent ways, the recurrent droughts and failing harvests of the early 2000s were politically significant because they called into question the legitimacy of land reform, and the broader ‘thirdchimurenga’ project constituted around it. But across Zimbabwe, and the region, rainfall and drought have long been measures of contested political legitimacy in more complex ways not limited to the politics of food, famine and agricultural production. In southern Zimbabwe, this is true not just for spirit mediums, chiefs and other ‘traditionalist’ authorities for whom rainmaking practices are well-established means of demonstrating ‘autochthony’, sovereignty and legitimacy, but also for war veterans, new farmers, government technocrats and others involved in land reform during the 2000s. This is what I examine here. Whilst I focus particularly on rainmaking practices, encounters with njuzu water spirits, and national biras that took place in the 2005-6 when research was carried out, the larger point I pursue is that water acts as an index of power – of the entangled but contested play of legitimacy and sovereignty – across many different registers of meaning and regimes of rule. In making this argument I engage with Keane (2003; 2005) and Engelke’s elaboration of Peirce’s theory of signs (1955), and build upon others (James 1972; Jedrej 1992) who have long argued that rainmaking ‘traditions’ across eastern, central and southern Africa are less a form of applied meteorology and more an idiom of politics and power, in order to argue that they are necessarily both at the same time.

April 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Conference: Crisis in the DRC’s two Kivus, new context & emerging Issues, Sept. 12 2013 @ IFRA

Great Lakes region
Date: September 12, 2013
Venue: IFRA
Entry: Prior confirmation at

Presentation by Gerard Gerold and moderated by Thierry Vircoulon and Musembayi Katumanga


September 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Research Publication: From Theatre Royal to Pop-Up Galleries – Timeline of Art Venues in Nairobi by Olivier Marcel

Maybe one day Nairobi will be laid out with tarred roads, with avenues of flowering trees, flanked by noble spaces and stately squares; a cathedral worthy of faith and country, museums and galleries of art, theatres and public offices. – Dutton Eric in Kenya Mountain, 1929

In Volume XI n° 3 – 2013 of Mambo! [IFRA Publication] Olivier Marcel takes a closer look at art venues in Nairobi from 1910 to present day. Then, he goes ahead to give a visual representation/mapping of art venues vis a viz key political events in Kenya and East Africa.

In his finding Oliver posits that most of the art venues and institutions in Nairobi lack institutional memory.

An astonishing example is the fifty year old Goethe-Institut, which has virtually nothing but testimonies to account for the activity that preceded the arrival of the current director in 2007. Additionally, when a venue shuts down, as did Wahome Mutahi’s popular Citrus Whispers Theatre in Ngara, its memory is only shared orally in small circles of theatre enthusiasts and progressively fades into oblivion.

Marcel also observes that there might be differences of intention between local organizers and their western counter parts. In his opinion western donors will usually partner with art organizers with the sole agenda of putting Nairobi on the Map!

This paper also points out how foreign donors came to settle in the art space. As is always the case foreign donors have an agenda they seek to push and art space in Kenya seems an obvious channel. Marcel makes this clear by pointing out how informal settlements have become attractive for art projects which are usually financed by foreign donors.

Download Mambo 2012 Marcel EN [pdf]

Olivier Marcel is a PhD student in geography who is currently completing his thesis titled “Tracing Art from Nairobi, Geography of Art Mobilities in an East African Metropolis” (Bordeaux 3 University – LAM, UMR 5115).

July 25, 2013 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

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