Historian on the Margins: Aggrey Indimuli Anduuru and the Invention of Community History for a Modern Ebunyole
Keywords:yole, Western Kenya; community archive; literacy; oral history; custodianship; postcolonial intellectual.
Modernity has substantially altered the social structures and ways of knowing for the Nyole community of Western Kenya. The rise of Rev Aggrey Anduuru to the position of contemporary custodian of community popular history is a remarkably paradoxical consequence thereof. Both this office and the possibility of Rev. Anduuru’s claim to custodianship over such office, ought to have been undermined by the conventional dichotomy between dominant and marginal Nyole clans. How is it possible that the grand narratives that legitimate the Nyole clan hierarchy came to be placed firmly under the control of a man whose clan this hierarchy negates? This paper departs from the conventional focus on ideologues who have influenced nation state histories to explore the making of a local postcolonial intellectual and the strategies he deploys to negotiate his double marginalization, first as a Nyole and second as a member of one of the fringe Nyole clans, to position himself at the helm of a community in transformation. Based on material gathered ethnographically in Ebunyole, the article investigates Rev. Anduuru’s innovative engagement with the community archive, the politics of literacy and the process of mediation of oral history, and the kinds of history he produced to assert his authority as ‘the’ memory of a postcolonial society in transition.
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