By Adow Mohamed:
A book titled “Little Mogadishu- Eastleigh, Nairobi’s Global Somali Hub” authored by Neil Carrier was launched in Eastleigh on Sunday.
The book was authored by Carrier, a British national and a professor at Oxford University took him took over 6 years in his research to write about Eastleigh “the little Mogadishu” on the economic generation that is known only to some few.
The book shares stories on the Somali-dominated estate in Nairobi and deeply extracts the benefits of migration and goes beyond the area’s dangerous image to explain the commercial hub.
Eastleigh was made business hub by a portion of hundreds of thousands of people who poured out of Somalia from the late 1980s onwards. Most of this people ended up in refugee camps of the neighbouring countries especially Kenya and Ethiopia.
However, a significant proportion who came to Eastleigh, changed the face of Eastleigh economically and demographically making it what it is today.
Eastleigh which is now a commercial hub and Centre for entrepreneurs and investors across East and Central Africa, United States, United Kingdom, China, Dubai among others was established by business minded Somali refugees after Mogadishu collapsed.
The book gives details on how Somalis changed the face of Eastleigh literally known as “little Mogadishu.”
The event was graced by high dignitaries including politicians, Sheikhs, Journalists, Writers, activists, representatives of INGO.
The book launch guest of honor was Yussuf Hassan (MP Kamukunji), accompanied by Majority leader Aden Bare Duale, Mohamed Mohamud (Mandera West MP), Peter Kenneth (Nairobi Governor Aspirant) among other leaders.
After the book launch, Yussuf Hassan (MP Kamukunji) campaigned as he confirmed to the audience that he is in the race again requesting votes.
He said he changed Eastleigh face for the years he was the MP for Kamukunji constituency.
“It’s through my effort that Eastleigh first Avenue, second avenue and General wairunge street were constructed,” said Hassan.
He promised that he will double his efforts given the chance again.
He urged Somali community to come out en mass to support him as he sure of getting Jubilee ticket to retain his seat.
Somalis who attended the event were happy about Dr Neil carrier’s effort in positively bringing out clearly the Somali achievement in Eastleigh’s commercial hub.
The book which goes for Kshs.3000 a copy has driven Somalis to buy to promote Dr Neil in return as there was no any other way to encourage him.
The book is expected to be launched again at the British Institute in East Africa located along Laikipia Road Kileleshwa on Wednesday between 6PM-9PM.
Dr Neil’s Profile
Neil is involved in the teaching of the MSc in African Studies and also teaches and supervises graduate students in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.
Neil has been involved in a wide range of research, mostly focused on the anthropology and history of East Africa and its diaspora. He has been working on a project examining the Somali-dominated Nairobi estate of Eastleigh as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme team, exploring the historical and cultural underpinnings of Eastleigh’s diaspora-driven economy.
Neil also maintains his interest in the topic of Africa and its drug trade which developed out of his earlier research on the stimulant khat, and he has developed this interest in his recently published book ‘African and the War on Drugs’, which he wrote in collaboration with Gernot Klantschnig.
Recently he has been involved in a number of projects relating to film and photography, in particular his work with Sloan Mahone and David Anderson on the AHRC-funded project ‘Trauma and Personhood in Late Colonial Kenya’, examining the photographic collection of the late Edward Margetts, head of Mathari Hospital, Nairobi, in the 1950s.
Neil has collaborated with the Pitt Rivers Museum on digitising a collection of photographs and negatives donated by Paul Baxter who conducted pioneering fieldwork in northern Kenya in the early 1950s.
In July 2010 he conducted a photographic-repatriation project alongside Dr Kimo Quaintance, returning many of the images in the Baxter Collection to northern Kenya. For much of 2009 and 2010, Neil was based in Kenya, conducting research for the project ‘Heritage, Museums and Memorialisation in Kenya’ , visiting a number of heritage sites in the country, and also working with Professor Beinart on wildlife photography, studying the East African networks involved in such productions as ‘Born Free’ and ‘King Solomon’s Mines’.