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Remembering and Disremembering Africa, 16 April

Speaker: Ken Walibora Waliaula
Date: Wednesday 16 April, 2014
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College

Topic Outline:
In remembering the attainment of political emancipation, post-independence African countries have learned to narrate the official national narrative and to forget other stories. Commemoration of the nationís pastalmost always goes hand in hand with officially decreed national amnesia. Therefore, the story of the nation has to be narrated and remembered by forgetting certain aspects of the colonial past. By implication the dual act of remembering and forgetting sets the pattern for how the postcolonial African nation narrates itself in the postcolonial moment. Focusing on Kenya as an example, this paper argues that the national commemoration of political emancipation from colonial rule tends to silence narratives of opposition and political incarceration that emerge in the postcolonial moment. The outcome is a remembering-and-forgetting battle that has implications for how diverse individuals conceive of themselves collectively as a nation and how they forge or fail to forge a coherent collective memory.

Speaker Bio:
Ken Walibora Waliaula holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Cultural Studies from Ohio State University, USA. He serves as an Assistant Professor of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. His research interests cover culture, memory, trauma, world literature, postcolonial literature, Anglophone African continental and diasporic literatures, as well as Swahiliphone literature. He is a prolific Kiswahili fiction writer with a literary oeuvre exceeding thirty titles and has won several awards. He won the Jomo Kenyatta Literature Prize twice with his Swahili texts, Ndoto ya Amerika (An American Dream) in 2003 and Kisasi Hapana (No to Revenge) in 2009. He has published a number of book chapters and articles in academic journals including Research in African Literatures and Journal of the Association of African Literature (JALA), Journal of African Language Teachers Association (JALTA) and Masculinity in African Cultural and Literary Texts. He is currently working on a book addressing the literature of Kenyan political prisoners. He also serves as Group Quality Manager Kiswahili Media,Nation Media Group Limited. More information about his award winning novel "Siku Njema" is available here: (

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