The Beat Goes On: Performing Postcolonial Disillusionment in Kenya

Maina wa Mutonya


Varias décadas luego de la independencia, el desempeño de la mayoría de los países africanos en sus intentos por materializar los sueños y aspiraciones de sus ciudadanos ha sido desconsolador. En estos Estados africanos postcoloniales la desilusión post independentista se ha expresado de distintas formas. La música, junto a la literatura y el teatro, ha sido una de las formas culturales a través de las cuales los artistas en Kenia han logrado construir continuamente una realidad política y social alternativa, alejada de la oficialidad, a fin de responder a los desafíos post coloniales. Este artículo es una disertación sobre el rol fundamental que ha tenido la música popular en la Kenia postcolonial, como uno de los lugares más connotados de la lucha entre gobernantes y gobernados. Este artículo toma como base las canciones de dos artistas: Joseph Kamaru y Eric Wainana.


Several decades after independence, most African countries have continually performed dismally in actualising the dreams and aspirations of their citizenry. The post-independence disillusionment has been expressed in various forms in these postcolonial African states. Music is one of the cultural forms, like literature and theatre, which artists in Kenya have employed as a force that continually constructs an alternative political and social reality, away from officialdom, in a way to respond to the postcolonial challenges. This paper is an exposé on the fundamental role that popular music has played in postcolonial Kenya as one of the salient sites of the struggle between the rulers and the ruled. The paper draws on songs from two artists, Joseph Kamaru and Eric Wainaina.



Palabras clave

Kenya; popular music; postcolonial disillusionment; Joseph Kamaru; Eric Wainaina; Kenyan history, Mau Mau; Kenia; música popular; desilusión postcolonial; Joseph Kamaru; Eric Wainana; historia Keniana; Mau Mau.

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