Tristan McConnell

Tristan McConnell is a foreign correspondent based in Nairobi.

In Kisumu

Tristan McConnell, 7 September 2017

When​ people in Kisumu, in western Kenya, began voting on a Tuesday morning in early August it was more like a party than an election. At the Kenyatta Sports Ground, a large triangle of dirt and trees in the city centre, whistles blew, vuvuzelas honked and drums banged; there was shouting, laughing, singing, cheering, even dancing. Cigarette smoke and the smell of booze drifted up from...

From The Blog
26 April 2013

‘Ah, the tyranny of mzungu prizes!’ the Kenyan author and journalist Parselelo Kantai said when I rang him up to talk about literary awards for African writers. Mzungu is Kiswahili for ‘white person’ and Kantai was only half-joking. Since its inception in 2000, the annual Caine Prize for African Writing – awarded, more narrowly than the ‘African Writing’ of its title might imply, ‘to a short story by an African writer published in English’ – has been the most high profile award for contemporary anglophone African writers. But it’s administered in Britain and the £10,000 cash prize is bestowed during a gala dinner at the Bodleian Library. ‘There’s something that rankles,’ says Kantai, who has been shortlisted twice. ‘Once the conferring is done in London you become big on the African landscape.’ But the lingering hangover of colonialism may be lifting.

In Abyei

Tristan McConnell, 30 June 2011

Last month the Northern Sudanese army, helped by Misseriya tribesmen, attacked the disputed town of Abyei, which lies on the border between North and South Sudan. President Bashir said the invasion, which was preceded by artillery and aerial bombardments, was in retaliation for an attack on his own troops. Most of those who live in Abyei, which has a population of 40,000, are Southern...

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