Have they really not made a difference?

Via Head Heeb, are three articles (1, 2, 3) about Asians in East Africa. The author uses the term “Kenyasians” to describe the community. Since my family is from Tanzania – Tanzazianz if you will – I know there are Muslims in the area. However, aside from mention of “Aslam,” Muslims really don’t show up in the piece and I’m surprised by that. Did we really not contribute anything?

Note: Loyal readers will note that this article is slightly different than what I had originally posted. Somehow a new post displaced the original, including associating with the original story’s comments. Those comments will probably not make sense as I’ve corrected the mistake. Sorry for the confusion.

2 thoughts on “Have they really not made a difference?

  1. I wonder if the average East African simply doesn’t consider Muslim Asians different from Hindu Asians. Based on the Fiji research I’ve done, the indigenous Fijian population tends to lump both Hindu and Muslim citizens into the category of “Indo-Fijians,” and the distinction between the two is only relevant within the Indian community.

  2. I’d be willing to buy that argument to a certain extent. It’s true here in the US, prior to the new pejoratives of “sand nigger,” “towel head,” “terrorist,” “osama,” and “husayn,” (when did being called “handsome” become a negative?), growing up the favorite slur against me was “hindoo.” A rather unfortunate relic of American race ideology from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    However, let me throw out two other thoughts: Quickly scanning some history books (that’s right, no Google here) it seems that whereas most colonial migration to Fiji was Hindu, to East Africa it was predominantly Sikh and Muslim. So, while supporting the Fiji case, doesn’t seem to make sense in the E. African context.
    In the post-independence era it appears that, because of the numbers of Muslims present, Muslims left in the largest numbers. The population dynamic shifted to greater representation of Hindus and Sikhs. Since the articles are dealing with the contemporary period, it would make sense for them to reflect current reality.
    As an aside, since you mentioned Fiji, I don’t know if you made it out to the “First Landing” by Lautoka, but the story there is that the first Fijians actually came from Tanganiyka. Plus ├ža change…

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