Vol. 32 No. 3 (2023): NJAS Special Issue Rethinking Time and Gender in African History
Special Issue: Rethinking Gender and Time in Africa

“There Was No Change”: Kenyan Women, Temporality, and Decolonization

Kara Moskowitz
Department of History, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Published 2023-09-28


  • Kenya,
  • decolonization,
  • gender,
  • temporality,
  • land

How to Cite

Moskowitz, K. (2023). “There Was No Change”: Kenyan Women, Temporality, and Decolonization. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 32(3), 267–285. https://doi.org/10.53228/njas.v32i3.913


While Kenyan colonial subjects became citizens at independence, women were excluded from state resources, social services, and full political enfranchisement. This was neither the decolonizing future they had been promised nor the one they had envisioned; for Kenyan women, independence often held more symbolic than material meaning. Continued landlessness – which overlapped with perpetuated structural gendered inequalities and various forms of political exclusion – coloured the ways in which Kenyan women made sense of independence. Relying on archival and oral sources, this article explores how Kenyan women were prohibited from exercising the fullest rights offered and protected by the early postcolonial state. In examining the multilayered politics of women’s marginalization, this paper elucidates how these exclusions shaped political imaginations, and in particular, Kenyan women’s notion of temporality, often marked by a sense of stasis or being placed outside of time. “There Was No Change” thus not only sheds light on the broad question of how gender shapes temporal logics, but it also contributes to an emerging literature on gendered notions of time during political transition.


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