Artefacts of a Nation’s Birth - Preserving the Newspapers of Kenya’s Transition From Colony to Nation

The McMillan Memorial Library holds over 45,000 newspaper issues across their three library branches. The rich newspaper collection includes reports of key historical events during Kenya’s struggle for independence such as the Mau Mau uprising, political assassinations, social and cultural developments, human rights movements and exploitative land acquisition laws.

The Book Bank Trust is leading the effort to digitize the most unique and endangered newspapers in the archival collection of the McMillan Memorial Library (Kenya), focusing primarily on materials from 1952-2010. McMillan Library’s unique newspaper collection contains some of the only remaining copies of newspapers from 28 different publishers and are the only openly available newspaper collection in Kenya. Providing digital access to this collection will expand research and understanding related to pressing issues such as decolonization, place and identity, colonial legacies, policies and land issues, as well as public memory and consciousness.

Kenya’s independence struggle continue to be culturally significant because one cannot, “...understand why the quest for African freedom and expected prosperity did not materialize after independence unless we understand the historical precedents that gave rise to colonialism, its social and intellectual foundation, its enduring as well as changing aspects, and the cascading disasters that followed” (Bulhan, 2015).

Project Details

Location: Kenya, Eastern Africa, Africa Organiser(s): Modern Endangered Archives Programme (MEAP) Project partner(s): Book Bunk Trust; McMillan Memorial Memorial Library Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: $49,995.47 Commencement Date: 01/2021 Project Status: Active
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