Jomo Kenyatta’s Speeches and the Construction of the Identities of a Nationalist Leader in Kenya

  •  Steve Mutie    
  •  Antony Mang’oka    
  •  Bernard Chemwei    
  •  Nelly Kitonga    


This paper discusses the speeches of the late Jomo Kenyatta, founding President of the Republic of Kenya. It focuses on one of the books that Kenyatta wrote Suffering without Bitterness and interrogates how he uses this literary text to navigate against the prevailing representations of him to construct his identities that portray him as a nationalist leader. The paper proceeds from the understanding that literature envoices the human person and subjectivises him. It constitutes an ideal arena for the subject’s intense mental work and of his revealing of himself to the world. This paper argues that it is in Kenyatta’s text that he constructs his identities. Suffering without Bitterness contains a great deal of knowledge regarding Kenyatta’s character insofar as it applies to the contemporary Kenyan reality. In particular, this paper argues that from Suffering without Bitterness we acquire a great deal of knowledge concerning the processes of Kenyatta’s identity formation insofar as it relates to the way he constructs his sense of self and relate it to his circumstances. It will be recalled that it is primarily on the basis of the frames of reference that we possess as individuals, or authors, that we are able to asses and make sense out of our circumstances. We construct our identities on the basis of our differential relationships with one another, on the basis of which we delineate a “space” that possesses attributes that are different from all other entities in the universe and are, therefore, unique.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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