ABSTRACT

In his introduction to the “Five Year Plan of Research”, the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski invites his reader as “a passenger fl ying over the inland route of the Imperial Airways” to a view of Africa. From such a vantage point, the houses and the natives over many parts of the continent appear to be no different from those in Birmingham and Manchester, he notes! But on reaching Nairobi, “we enter a world where natives and things African seem to play but the role of mutes and properties respectively”. The place is “dominated by large European administrative buildings, banks, churches and stores. The white inhabitants go about their European business and live in a world almost untouched, on its surface, by Africa”.1