Kenyan Nubians and the struggle for acceptance

Published: 15/Dec/2011
Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

In Nairobi’s Kibera slums live thousands of marginalised Kenyans whose ancestors were brought to Kenya from Sudan in the early 1890s to serve as soldiers in the British Army. Although they gave their all to the British empire under the Kings African Rifles service during the building of the Uganda Railway and later in the First and Second World Wars, their uneasy relationship with the colonial masters boiled over into independent Kenya. Now they want an end to the iniquities that include a deliberate attempt not to recognise Kibera as their ancestral home.

Sitting outside the battered door to his old family house in the Makina sector of Kibera slums, Hussain gazes at the setting sun as he ponders what the future holds for him.

Unlike the fading sunshine that is guaranteed to grace the skies over the world famous shantytown the next day, the 25-year-old’s tomorrow is clouded in uncertainty.

With no national identity card to quantify his citizenship, no college certificate or a godfather in high places, the young man’s destiny looks as gloomy as the rapidly approaching darkness.

Like Hussain, the fate of thousands of Nubian youths residing in Kibera and other places across the country hangs precariously in the ethnic balance. “When I went to apply (for the ID) the third time, I indicated that I’m a Luo because I speak Dholuo fluently. After giving them my school certificate and photocopies of my parents’ IDs, they asked me to present the death certificate of my grandfather,” he says.

Read further;–793166

Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Identity Documents, Statelessness
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2011