Germans on the Kenyan Coast

Germans on the Kenyan Coast

Land, Charity, and Romance
Nina Berman
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/16/2017
Format: Hardback 8 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02424-4
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Diani, a coastal town on the Indian Ocean, is significantly defined by a large European presence that has spurred economic development and is also supported by close relationships between Kenyans and European immigrants and tourists. Nina Berman looks carefully at the repercussions that these economic and social interactions have brought to life on the Kenyan coast. She explores what happens when poorer and less powerful members of a community are forced to give way to profit-based real estate development, what it means when most of Diani’s schools and water resources are supplied by funds from immigrants, and what the impact of mixed marriages is on notions of kinship and belonging as well as the economy. This unique story about a small Kenyan town also recounts a wider tale of opportunity, oppression, resilience, exploitation, domination, and accommodation in a world of economic, political, and social change.

Author Bio

Nina Berman is Professor of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University Her most recent book publications include German Literature on the Middle East: Discourses and Practices, 1000–1989 and an edited anthology (with Klaus Mühlhahn and Patrice Nganang), German Colonialism Revisited: African, Asian, and Oceanic Experiences.


“In this richly detailed book, Nina Berman tracks the influx of thousands of German-speaking tourists and residents, especially in the 1990s, and the making of a distinctive Kenyan-European cultural enclave in the coastal community of Diani as many of these visitors choose to extend their stay as long-term residents.”
 — Ann Biersteker, author of , Masomo ya Kisasa: Contemporary Readings in Swahili

“Nina Berman provides a nuanced, fresh, and contemplative interpretation of the colonial and post independence interaction between Kenya and Germany, shedding light on the romantic, psychosexual and psychosocial, and economic entanglements that tie German tourists to their Kenyan hosts on the Kenyan coast.”
 — Daily Nation

“Nina Berman's Germans on the Kenyan Coast: Land, Charity, and Romance is a thoughtful effort to draw connections between the ever-vexed land question in the postcolonial world, the frequently oversimplified complexity of the history behind this, and the often-marginalized ways in which the personal has played as important a role as the political in externally-driven material development in Africa. As such, it is a welcome addition to an otherwise limited writing of its type.”
 — Europe Now

“Berman has done a wonderful job of providing a balance between detailing observations and personal stories from the ethnographic fieldwork and offering academic analyses. Thus, this is a suitable book for undergraduate and graduate level courses in tourism studies, social development, migration, urban development, humanitarian studies, and qualitative methods. Additionally, this book will no doubt contribute to a rethinking of the need to balance the power in the core-periphery relationships.”
 — Anthropos

“Berman provides a compelling narrative that hopefully inspires similar analyses of other postcolonial African states in the future.”
 — German Studies Review

Germans on the Kenyan Coast is an informative and thought-provoking work that deserves to be read by scholars of Kenya and those interested in globalized structures of gentrification, north-south humanitarian assistance, and love and romance in Africa.”
 — African Studies Quarterly

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Table of Contents

1. Pwani si Kenya--Pwani ni Kenya--Pwani ni Ujerumani (na Italia na kadhalika):
Multitudinal Coastal Entanglements
2. Land
3. Charity
4. Romance
Epilogue: Je, Vitaturudia? Will They Return to Us?
Appendix: Maps and Tables