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Dossier January 2013

Lamu – Rise and Fall

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  Lamu town is the oldest human settlement continually inhabited in Kenya. Located some 350 km north of Mombasa, near the Somali border, the archipelago of Lamu was occupied from prehistoric times. The origins of the town date back to the XII century. Lamu grew in importance, its port being a major link in the…

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Historic sites

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  The Swahili coast is doted by settlements, some dating back to the X century. Apart from the many villages of thatched huts, there is an impressive number of towns boasting permanent buildings, often two or three story high. Among the most known ruins are Songo Mnara, 300 km south of Dar es Salam, Kaole,…

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Hakuna Matata

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The Swahili language (Kiswahili) is enjoying renewed popularity well beyond Africa. Yet, until two centuries ago, it was spoken by a small number of people and it was confined to a tine coastal strip. Oral sources place the birth of the Swahili language before the X century A.D. There are early inscriptions in Swahili written…

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Waves of life

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  Despite the patches of arid land, the African eastern coast is mostly covered by forests, or at least that was the case before deforestation. The coastal strip, the land from the sea to about 200 metres of altitude, is 15 to 65 km wide. At times the strip widens to include large river deltas;…

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The Swahili

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  In a continent where nationalism and ethnicity often clash, the presence of the Swahili is a remarkable achievement of intermingling, tolerance and cultural adaptability. The Swahili, in fact, are not an ethnic group. They are a poly-ethnic society where the boundaries between one group and the other diluted with the passing of time. Even…

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Advocacy

10 Ways We Pretend War is Not a Crime.

Advocacy, more than economic interests, is about consciousness and knowledge. It is about building a strong democracy, holding those in power accountable. It is about…

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Baobab

Why the Hippo lives in the Water.

Many years ago the hippopotamus, whose name was Isantim, was one of the biggest kings on the land; he was second only to the elephant. The…

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Youth & Mission

Saving the Planet and Ourselves.

Australia, Philippines, California and Central and South Africa have been recently hit by severe drought and endless forest fires.  Thousands are suffering. Plants and animals perish.…

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