The Giriama ethnography belongs then to a period when Kenya sought to establish itself as one of Africa’s leading capitalist economies, allowing for some rearrangement of the racial division of labour. [xx] For a time, redistribution of wealth and power towards some Africans induced an atmosphere of commercial prosperity. The world economy in the 1960s and early 1970s was also favourable. This climate did not last, however, and for some two decades now economic conditions have deteriorated in Kenya. This is not the first time that Africans have experienced a boom only to repent at leisure during a long recession. In the Giriama case, it is by no means obvious that the forces of nascent capitalism have triumphed in the face of conditions reinforcing traditional norms of rural self-sufficiency.


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