In both colonial and post-colonial Kenya, Asians dominated retail and trade. They controlled 75% of medium and large scale manufacturing firms, while they only comprised 1% of the population.1 In contrast to this, Africans only controlled 5% of these firms2, which led to a great level of resentment amongst Kenyans. For example, in the Nakuru district, squatters moved into urban areas in order to find trading plots after World War II. However, with 5047 Asians living in the Nakuru district in 19483, they...
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...r a decade before this became a reality.19Furthermore, during the late 1920s, the East African Indian National Congress, a key Indian political group in Kenya, consistently made demands for the abolition of colonial laws that disadvantaged and oppressed Africans.20 For example, they spoke out against the ban that prohibited Africans from growing cash crops such as coffee, which at the time greatly hindered Kenyan’s ability to succeed in agriculture, as well as the extortionate levels of poll and hut tax.21 The fact that many politicised Indians cared for Kenyans and were working in the interests of them, contrary to the popular belief that they were the corrupt exploiters of Africans, sheds further light on how the fractious race relations of Kenya’s history were largely created out of exaggerated stories that did not accurately represent the true actions of Asians.
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