Race and Social Islands in Kenya’s Urban Social Spaces BESI BRILLIAN MUHONJA
Social spaces, unlike professional and necessary community spaces, are primarily actively chosen by the individual, demonstrating the most about that individual’s persuasions. The debate on decolonization assumes the desegregation of all spaces in Kenya ignoring more subtle forms of spatial separation. This chapter argues that the phenomenon of separation and internal migration patterns along race lines has simply morphed into more abstract forms, speciﬁ cally the social and recreational involvement and engagement of White people in Kenya’s urban spaces. In a post-colonial reality it is much easier to recognize the isolation of “types” along economic lines. Because most White people in Kenya belong to the middle class and above, and because segregation in classed societies often corresponds with individuals’ economic conditions, ﬁ nancial wherewithal has become the salient marker of separation between Whites and other races in Kenya, consequently removing all other signiﬁ cant forms of social separation within urban spaces. An immersion into the social life of Kenya’s Nairobi however, reveals strong clustering indices along race lines conﬁ rming that urban Kenya’s social scene is in fact the melting pot whose ingredients never truly blended. This chapter examines the separation of social and recreational spaces along race lines in Nairobi, Kenya, contesting the image of a race-uniﬁ ed Kenya, while exploring the forces behind urban social space separations.