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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Art, literature, and reconstruction in the Horn of Africa

The Somali Kenyan MP Yusuf Hassan was a conspicuous absence at a discussion on the role of art and literature in social reconstruction in the Horn of Africa, which took place on 10 December 2012 in Nairobi. The MP was injured by shrapnel in an explosion in his Kamukunji constituency in Eastleigh, a largely Somali community in the Kenyan capital, on 7 December. His place as chair of the event, co-hosted by Kwani Trust, a Kenyan literary network, and the RVI Nairobi Forum, was filled at short notice by the journalist Katrina Manson, who subsequently wrote about the event in the Financial Times. A distinguished panel of writers from across the region included the short story writer Said Jama Hussein; Ayan Mahamoud, managing director of KAYD Somali Arts and Culture, which helps put on the Hargeisa International Book Fair; the columnist Ahmed Abbas; the Ethiopian playwright Meaza Worku; and Joseph Eluzai, a South Sudanese writer of fiction, poems, and short stories.

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