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.

Argwings Kodhek (Kenya National Archives)
Argwings Kodhek (1923-69)

The 'Mau Mau lawyer' and Luo politician with a debated reputation for the defence of human rights.

Machyo (right) in London (courtesy of Peter Obanda Wanyama)
Boloki Chango Machyo W’Obanda (1927-2013)

A Ugandan public intellectual, between East African pan-Africanism and local politics

Hilary Ng'weno
Hilary Boniface Ng'weno (1938-)

The first Kenyan editor-in-chief of the Nation newspaper group

Seroney (Nation Media)
Jean-Marie Seroney (1927-82)

An outspoken laywer, trade unionist, and prisoner of conscience

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