East Africa's Global Lives

Welcome to East Africa's Global Lives, a continually-growing, co-produced, Open Access resource for teachers and students of African history.

Each biography showcases the primary source research of its author, whose name is displayed on the biography page. The initial biographies below came out of of our archival workshop in Nairobi in October 2019; they serve as the nucleus of a collection which will grow to represent the diverse ways in which twentieth-century East Africans engaged with the wider world.

The biographies are listed alphabetically by first name and are fully searchable. You can also choose a tag and click 'search' to display the biographies which relate to a given topic.

If you would like to contribute a biography, please get in touch! You can keep up to date with new biographies by following us on Twitter.

Barbara Kimenye (Daily Monitor)
Barbara Kimenye (1929-2012)

One of East Africa's most prolific children's writers

Daniel Owino Misiani
Daniel Owino Misiani (1940-2006)

The father of Benga music, taking multilingual lyrics to a global audience

Margaret Kenyatta as Mayor of Nairobi
Margaret Kenyatta (1928-2017)

Nairobi City Mayor and KANU women's wing leader

Nuruddin Farah
Nuruddin Farah (1945-)

Somali novelist writing - often from exile - on dictatorship, feminism and the fragmented individual

Maathai in 2001
Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

Global fame, national battles, and an ambivalent legacy