Jahazi Vol 10, Issue 2: Pop Culture


This Issue on popular culture was conceived to begin the conversation around the question: whither popular culture today, in post-pandemic 2022 Kenya? 


The study of the popular in Kenya is not new, and indeed, vibrant scholarship and reportage around popular culture in general has existed for about two decades now. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to a halt most activities that spur, facilitate, and mediate popular culture, including the making of music, film, television, art, theatre, dance, and even transportation which, in Kenya, is a source of the artistic and the musical. This Issue therefore sought to act as a check on the current state of the popular.



Jahazi on Popular Culture  brings a diverse range of articles that speak to both the wider debates around popular culture, as well as practical work being done by practitioners of art and culture on the ground.

Editorial Board

Mueni Lundi
Faith Onea
Lydia Muthuma
Irene Cege

Advisory Board

Garnette Oluoch-Olunya

Kahithe Kiiru

Mwenda Ntarangwi

Issue Editor:

Caroline Mose


Kimani Njogu

Design & Layout:

Victor Gitonga Twenty Twenty Design


Matwana Culture

Alex Kamweru

Photos of Patrick Mukabi’s artwork by Mary Kabui


Part 1

    • Meme Culture in Kenya and Overreliance on Images of the Political Elite by Doseline Kiguru


    • El Nombre de Amor: Representations in Cultural Porductions between Kenya and Mexico by Maina wa Mũtonya


    • Decolonisation and Cultural Heritage in Africa: Prospects and Bottlenecks by Joyce Nyairo


    • “Ismarwa! It is ours”:Popular Music and Identitiy Politics in Kenyan Youth Culture by Mbũgua wa-Mũngai


    • Connected Histories of Dance in Central Colonial Kenya by Cécile Feza Bushidi


    • Kenyan Matatu Art and Culture: Reading beyond the romanticism by Caroline Mose


    • Uhuru Gardens: Performing Kenya’s Civic Narrative by Lydia Muthuma


    • Sheng: Youth Identity Marker by Nathan Ogechi


    • (E)merging of The Old with The New: Continuity of Children’s Song and Rhymes in Hip-Hop Music by Godfrey Ikahu Kariuki


    • Sheng: The Dynamic Lignua Franca of Resistance in Kenya by Atandi Anyona


Part 2


    • Performing Faith: Spoken Word Performance of A Piece, For Peace by Chris Mutie aka Siso


    • A Brazen Healing by Wanjiku Mwawuganga


    • Of Rainbow Coloured and Acronymed Shows: Did We Cancel Artistic Freedom of Expression? by Joseph Obel 


    • Docubox’s Shorts, Shorts & Shots: Film Screening Differently by Annie Gichuki & Mudamba Mudamba


    • In Conversation with Hip-Hop Artist Mejja with Mary Kabui


    • Conversation about Nairobi in the Making