Custom, modernity, and the search for Kihooto
Kenyatta, Malinowski, and the making of Facing Mount Kenya
in Ordering Africa
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Jomo Kenyatta and Bronislaw Malinowski met in December 1934, soon after the latter had told Princess Marie Bonaparte he was to meet 'real experts' on the Kikuyu people. The book, Facing Mount Kenya, was one of the first anthropological monographs by an African. Kenyatta met Britain's African affairs community on his first visit to London in 1929-30. Malinowski forwarded Kenyatta's application for a London School of Economics (LSE) library card, remarking on his great 'influence among the educated Africans here and in Africa'. Malinowski was increasingly critical of colonialism and came to believe that anthropologists must become 'not only the interpreter of the native, but also his champion'. His relationship with Kenyatta probably also informed his new conviction that educated Africans could no longer be denied equal rights. Kenyatta's politics increased his value, since Malinowski maintained that functionalist anthropology could be politically useful to colonial administrators.

Ordering Africa

Anthropology, European imperialism, and the politics of knowledge


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