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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:'Brown Sugar' or Friday Prayers: Youth choices and community building in coastal Kenya
Author:Beckerleg, S.
Year:1995
Periodical:African Affairs
Volume:94
Issue:374
Pages:23-38
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:Anthropology & Ethnology
Subjects:Islam
Youth
Tourism
Watamu
Abstract:This paper describes a village community which has undergone rapid modernization through the growth of a mass tourist industry. Changes engendered by tourism have contributed to the strength of a localized religious revival. The village of Watamu is at the heart of the tourist boom in Kenya, and over the past twenty years has gained a reputation as a place where most of the community checks on personal conduct no longer apply. The pressures threatening the disintegration of the Swahili community are analysed, and drug abuse, particularly heroin ('brown sugar'), is found to be making a significant contribution to the chaotic conditions within the village. Although the Swahili community in Watamu is, by definition, Muslim, Islam is one of the issues which has in the past divided the village. Moves are now being made by the reformists (supporters of the 'Tabligh' Islamic movement) to unite under Islam, but as one rift is mended, another opens, as new poles representing extremes of Swahili life emerge. Young people can choose one of two extremes: strict Islamic observance, or heroin misuse. (Source: ASC Documentation).
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