About being mixed race, and what Khaminwa told Senghor

John Khaminwa

Dr John Khaminwa at the Court of Appeal, Nairobi on June 2, 2021 during the appeal of Building Bridges' Initiative (BBI).

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Senghor and Khaminwa’s poem returned to my mind because of the disturbing and persistent din about race, and racism, these days.
  • Senghor is remembered for, among other things, his hardheaded admission that we post-colonial Africans were “cultural hybrids” (métis culturels, in French).

John Khaminwa addressed a poem to Leopold Sedar Senghor. That was a long time ago, and Senghor, the first Senegal President and famous poet of Negritude, is now an ancestor, and John Khaminwa is a Senior Counsel in Kenya. But Khaminwa’s poem to Senghor is alive and well, in Jonathan Kariara and Helen Kitonga’s Introduction to East African Poetry, to quote just one familiar source.


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