African Mediations of Violence: Perspectives from Kenya and Rwanda

Seminar date: 
24 June 2010
Speaker(s): Annemiek Richters and Naomi van Stapele

In this seminar, two of the six contributors to African Mediations of Violence: Fashioning New Futures from Contested Pasts (Brill, June 2010) will discuss the violence in recent African wars from the perspectives of the African people who experienced and witnessed it. Central to it are the words of (male) Somali poets, Zulu singers, impoverished Kenyan youth and white South African war veterans as well as the men and women who are trying to refashion their lives and relationships in post-war Mozambique and Rwanda. Naomi van Stapele will analyze the complex historical and contemporary contexts in which young men from the Nairobi slum of Mathare Valley 'became Kikuyu' in the post-election violence of 2007. And Annemiek Richters will discuss the implementation of a socio-therapy programme in Rwanda and consider why this locally led mediation of experiences of large-scale war violence has been so enthusiastically embraced by its participants. Both speakers will link their case studies to the book's common themes and objectives. Olivier Nyirubugara will act as discussant.

Annemiek Richters is Emeritus Professor of Culture, Health and Illness at Leiden University Medical Centre and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. Her current research focuses on the practice and impact of socio-therapy in Rwanda.

Naomi van Stapele is a PhD student in anthropology at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. Her work focuses on the growing significance of ethnicity among youth gangs in post-colonial Kenya and is based on long-term research in economically marginalized areas of Nairobi.

Olivier Nyirubugara is a PhD student in media and memory studies at the Amsterdam University's Institute of Cultural History and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. His field of interest is the relationship between memory and education, memory and politics, and memory and conflicts.