Abstract In remembering the attainment of political emancipation, post-independence African countries have learned to narrate the official national narrative and to forget other stories. Commemoration of the nation’s past almost always goes hand in hand with officially decreed national amnesia. Therefore, the story of the nation has to be narrated and remembered by forgetting certain aspects of the colonial past. By implication the dual act of remembering and forgetting sets the pattern for how the postcolonial African nation narrates itself in the postcolonial moment. Focusing on Kenya as an example, this paper argues that the national commemoration of political emancipation from colonial rule tends to silence narratives of opposition and political incarceration that emerge in the postcolonial moment. The outcome is a remembering-and-forgetting battle that has implications for how diverse individuals conceive of themselves collectively as a nation and how they forge or fail to forge a coherent collective memory.
- Ken Walibora Waliaula
Article first published online: 4 APR 2012