Kenda Mutongi: Through a car window in a Nairobi traffic jam, a view of global economics
The Washington Post
Traffic jam in Nairobi, Kenya, 2005. Photo: rogiro
Through a car window in a Nairobi traffic jam, a view of global economics
By Kenda Mutongi [MIT MLK Visiting Professor 2017-2018]
The Washington Post, 11 October 2023
Professor Kenda Mutongi examines how "what has emerged on the streets of Nairobi is a kind of civic pragmatism, a host of improvisatory and creative practices that amount to a supplementary accommodation which grants the poor a meager means of survival." Mutongi adds, "through an inventive kind of civic pragmatism, the citizens of Nairobi find ways of ‘instrumentalizing disorder’ that allow them to survive. Somehow, in a roundabout way, people keep trying to get by." --MIT Daily, 10/13/23
Mutongi is a history professor at MIT and the author of, most recently, Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi. This piece is adapted from an essay in the fall 2023 issue of Liberties, a journal of culture and politics.