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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:The Use of Autochthony in Popular Politics: The story of 'Mwambasho' among the Digo of Kenya
Author:Park, J.K.
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:Political Science & Government
Subjects:Digo - ethnic group
Oral Tradition
Abstract:Stories that explain the origins of places and political systems of the past have undergone constant change and been created in order to address current sociopolitical concerns. The Digo people who reside along the south coast and the adjacent hinterland of Kenya have been marginalized in terms of national politics and economy. Because ethnic exclusion has persisted in the coastal society, a movement for coastal secession has attracted popular support. The story of Mwambasho, widely known in the Digo society, tells of the origins of Mombasa, a single major urban centre of the coastal area, and of the existence of the Digo dynasty that ruled the city. The objective of this study is to demonstrate how this historical narrative is shaped by the present political situation in Kenya's coast. The focus of the discussion lies in examining how this story legitimates the Digo's autochthony and their aspirations for higher political and economic status in post-independence Kenya. [Journal Abstract]