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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Superstate Africa: Kenya, Somaliland and the Ghost of Biafra’s Past

With more than 2000 ethnic groups in Africa and 50-odd states between them, there are certainly enough minority problems to go round.

On 28 September 2017, the Rift Valley Forum, in collaboration with Storymoja, hosted lawyer and writer Chuma Nwokolo, to explore this year’s Storymoja’s theme, Black Peace. In this wide-ranging conversation, Nwokolo, a survivor of a massacre during the Biafran war, mapped a path through the minefield of politics to a renascent Africa, using case studies from Kenya’s devolution to Somaliland’s quest for full statehood.

Chuma Nwokolo’s new book, The Extinction of Menai, explores the loss of language and culture as well as the extinction of vulnerable ethnicities in Africa. The book explores how a sense of estrangement from state power feeds into a culture of tribalism and agitation for restructuring—from autonomy, to federation, to outright secession.



James Murua


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