What can we glean from history about the presence of Indians in Kenya, where they can be found running businesses in major cities as well as in the smallest, most rural towns and cuisines are shared across both groups.
Following, is some recommended readings.
Harnessing the Trade Winds by Blanche D'Souza
Publication Date: 2008-05-15
Harnessing the Trade Winds is the outcome of a generation of research undertaken in Nairobi, Mombassa and Zanzibar in East Africa, and Mumbai and Goa in India. Of her work the author says: "In all my research I found that Arab and particularly European, sources of information downplayed the importance of Indian trade in the Indian Ocean which goes back at least three thousand years BC. [The book] attempts to rekindle in the Indian diaspora a justifiable pride in the achievements of its forebears in East Africa, and indeed other parts of the world. In East Africa they promoted the development of agriculture and industry and the globalization of trade stemming from their trading activities." "Blanche D'Souza's book is a most direct statement on 'brown man's' transcripts over thousands of years trade, labour and migrations for settlements against a pervading backdrop of Arab, British and Portugese rivalries in the Indian Ocean. In this wake Harnessing the Trade Winds adds to plural historical perspectives, in that the text upholds the value of diversity that shapes the identities and self-knowledge of the peoples of Asia and Africa. It challenges those who hold the political reigns and direct policy, on education as well as race relations." - Sultan Somjee, Former head of Ethnography at the National Museums of Kenya, founder of the Community Peace Museums Programme and Foundation, and the Asian African Heritage Trust in Kenya.
Imperial Connections by Thomas R. Metcalf
Publication Date: 2008-10-20
An innovative remapping of empire, Imperial Connections offers a broad-ranging view of the workings of the British Empire in the period when the India of the Raj stood at the center of a newly globalized system of trade, investment, and migration. Thomas R. Metcalf argues that India itself became a nexus of imperial power that made possible British conquest, control, and governance across a wide arc of territory stretching from Africa to eastern Asia. His book, offering a new perspective on how imperialism operates, emphasizes transcolonial interactions and webs of influence that advanced the interests of colonial India and Britain alike. Metcalf examines such topics as law codes and administrative forms as they were shaped by Indian precedents; the Indian Army's role in securing Malaya, Africa, and Mesopotamia for the empire; the employment of Indians, especially Sikhs, in colonial policing; and the transformation of East Africa into what was almost a province of India through the construction of the Uganda railway. He concludes with a look at the decline of this Indian Ocean system after 1920 and considers how far India's participation in it opened opportunities for Indians to be a colonizing as well as a colonized people.
Special Issue in The African Archaeological Review journal. See especially the article "Indian Ocean Food Globalisation and Africa"
The Settler's Cookbook by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Publication Date: 2010-02-04
Through the personal story of Yasmin’s family, food, and recipes they’ve shared together, The Settler’s Cookbook tells the history of Indian migration to the UK via East Africa. Her family was part of the mass exodus from India to East Africa during the height of British imperial expansion, fleeing famine and lured by the prospect of prosperity under the empire.
The article recounts how a young Shi'a Muslim Indian born in north-west India migrated to Kenya in the early twentieth century in the context of the evolving trade linking the two continents, and rose to become a successful merchant and respected member of the community.
By reading the works of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Jameela Siddiqi, and M. G. Vassanji, this article sets to show how and why food mediates the experience of displacement in literary enactments of Indian East African migrations. It examines what the symbolism of food conveys about the contests that characterize the lives of the African Indians and how food enables writers to imagine possible worlds beyond social antagonisms.