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Pasha 124: How Nairobi’s informal settlements got their names

Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, started as a railway depot in 1899 and developed into a colonial administration centre, then into a commercial and regional hub. Informal settlements in the city grew in parallel, arising from colonial policies that excluded local people from permanent residence, and driven by demand for housing.

The names of these informal settlements – and the names of places within them – capture their history and act as a voice for their residents. Place names tell us about politics, culture and the challenges of people who live there.

In today’s episode of Pasha, The Conversation Weekly’s Gemma Ware chats to Melissa Wanjiru-Mwita, a lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya, about Nairobi’s informal settlements and how they got their names.

Read more: The fascinating history of how residents named their informal settlements in Nairobi

“Kosovo, the name of an area in an informal settlement.” By Mélissa Wanjiru.

Music: “Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on licensed under CC0 1.

“Back To My Roots” by John Bartmann, found on Freesound licensed under Attribution 4.0 International License.

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