Nanjala Nyabola

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Nanjala Nyabola
Re publica 19 - Day 2 (32852693297).jpg
OccupationWriter, Political Analyst
EducationKianda School; University of Birmingham; University of Oxford; Harvard Law School

Nanjala Nyabola is a writer, political analyst, and activist based in Nairobi, Kenya.[1][2]

Nyabola writes extensively about African society and politics, technology, international law, and feminism for academic and non-academic publications. Her first book Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Kenya (Zed Books, 2018) was described as "a must read for all researchers and journalists writing about Kenya today".[3]

Nyabola held a Rhodes Scholarship at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford in 2009,[4] was part of the 2017 inaugural cohort of Foreign Policy Interrupted Fellows,[5] and was a 2017 Logan Nonfiction Program Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good.[6]

Nyabola sits on the board of Amnesty International Kenya.[7]


Nyabola holds multiple degrees in politics and law:[5]


Nyabola writes extensively about African society and politics, in particular Kenya, alongside discussions of technology, international law, and feminism. Her work has featured in publications and outlets including African Arguments,[8] Al Jazeera,[9] Financial Times,[10] Foreign Affairs,[11] Foreign Policy,[12] The Guardian,[13] New African,[14] The New Humanitarian,[15] The New Inquiry,[16] New Internationalist,[17] OkayAfrica[18] and World Policy Journal.[19]

Her 2014 Al Jazeera opinion piece "Why do Western media get Africa wrong?"[20] generated much discussion,[21][22][23][24][25][26][27] including on the BBC World Service[28] and in a 2014 McGill University course syllabus on Western representations of Africa in media and pop culture.[29]

Her 2010 Guardian opinion piece "Why, as an African, I took a Rhodes scholarship"[30] was chosen as one of the 5 Best Wednesday Columns in The Atlantic.[31]

Public speaking[edit]

Nyabola is a frequent contributor to the BBC World Service, particularly on issues around Kenyan politics and technology.[28][32][33][34][35]

She is a prolific speaker at universities including discussions of African politics, specifically Kenya, migration, feminism, and the digital at the University of Edinburgh,[36] SOAS,[37][38] Stanford University.[39]

Nyabola has been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences on the politics of the digital, including re:publica 2018[40] and 2019,[41] the 2018 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa,[42] and the 2019 RightsCon in Tunis.[43] She gave the opening keynote at the 2022 Association of Internet Researchers conference.[1]



Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on the Move is a collection of essays published in 2020 by Hurst Publishers,.[44] The essays analyse the radicalised experience of travelling as "a middle-class, mobile, Black African female"[45] and is interspersed with "personal stories that are witty, moving, unsettling, and harrowing in turn".[46] The book has been positively received and featured in The Times Literary Supplement[45] and NPR[47] amongst others. Ranka Primorac writes that the book "has sharp and urgent things to say about racism in America, xenophobia in Africa, and the future of Pan-Africanism".[46]

Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya was published in 2018 by Zed Books.[48] A review in African Studies Quarterly described it as a "highly refreshing, innovative, and descriptive narrative sheds light on contemporary Kenya, highlighting the impact of technology on its political and social systems".[45] It received positive reviews from LSE Review of Books,[3] Duncan Green,[49] Business Daily Africa,[50] between the lines podcast from the Institute of Development Studies[51] and the Africa Oxford Initiative podcast at the University of Oxford.[52] She has given book talks at numerous universities including the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University,[53] the University of the Witwatersrand,[54] School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University,[55] Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society[56] and the University of Cambridge.[57] The book is cited in a Financial Times article on the fight to control Africa's digital revolution.[58]

Where Women Are: Gender & The 2017 Kenyan Elections was published in 2018 by Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung and Twaweza Communications Ltd and co-edited with Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle.[59]

Book chapters[edit]

"Testimony as Text: Performative Vulnerability and the Limits of Legalistic Approaches to Refugee Protection"

"Media Perspectives: Social Media and New Narratives: Kenyans Tweet Back"

  • Chapter in Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising', published in 2016 by Routledge


  1. ^ a b "Prize Students Step-up to Receive Awards". University of Birmingham. 12 July 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  2. ^ Adebanjo, Oluwayemisi (2019). "Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya". African Studies Quarterly. 18 (4): 85–86.
  3. ^ a b deSouza, Priyanka (2018-12-07). "Book Review: Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Kenya by Nanjala Nyabola". LSE Review of Books. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  4. ^ "Rhodes Scholar Database". Rhodes Trust. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  5. ^ a b "Foreign Policy Interrupted | H. Nanjala Nyabola". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  6. ^ "H. Nanjala Nyabola". Carey Institute for Global Good. 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  7. ^ "Our Board". Amnesty International Kenya. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  8. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola, Author at African Arguments". African Arguments. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  9. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  10. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  11. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola". Foreign Affairs. 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  12. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola – Foreign Policy". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  13. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola | The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  14. ^ "Search for "nanjala nyabola" - New African Magazine". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  15. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola | The New Humanitarian". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  16. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola". The New Inquiry. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  17. ^ "Author Details". New Internationalist. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  18. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola". runner. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  19. ^ "Search Results for "nanjala nyabola" – World Policy". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  20. ^ Nyabola, Nanjala. "Why do Western media get Africa wrong?". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  21. ^ Gathara, Patrick (2014-01-24). "If western journalists get Africa wrong, who gets it right?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  22. ^ "In defence of western journalists in Africa - By Michela Wrong". African Arguments. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  23. ^ "Why do Western media get Africa wrong?". TMS Ruge. 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  24. ^ "What does a round of 'African nations in high school' say about". The East African. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  25. ^ Dersso, Solomon. "Reporting Africa: In defence of a critical debate". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  26. ^ "Examining the roots of biased reporting on Africa | Africa Talks". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  27. ^ "Two tribes". The Economist. 2014-01-24. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  28. ^ a b "BBC World Service - World Have Your Say, Is it the media's responsibility to champion Africa, or simply understand it?". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  29. ^ Barber, Nicholas (2014). "Syllabus - Africa in Media and Pop Culture" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  30. ^ Nyabola, Nanjala (2010-05-05). "Why, as an African, I took a Rhodes scholarship | Nanjala Nyabola". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  31. ^ Simpson, Jared Keller, Alex Eichler, Jake (2010-05-05). "5 Best Wednesday Columns". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  32. ^ "BBC World Service - Business Daily, Tackling Fake News". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  33. ^ "BBC World Service - Focus on Africa, Political violence erupts in Guinea". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  34. ^ "BBC World Service - Africa Today, Kenya Election Watch Special". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  35. ^ "BBC World Service - Business Matters, Raila Odinga Calls for Boycott of Kenyan Elections". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  36. ^ "Centre of African Studies: Events : Africa in 2019: Prospects & Forecasts". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  37. ^ "Africa in 2018: Prospects & Forecasts | SOAS University of London". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  38. ^ "NANJALA NYABOLA". SOAS African Development Forum. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  39. ^ "Africa Table: Kenyan Feminisms in the Digital Age | Center for African Studies". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  40. ^ "Introducing: #rpAccra Speaker Nanjala Nyabola". re:publica. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  41. ^ "What Tech Can't Fix". re:publica 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  42. ^ "CIPESA-FIFAfrica2018-participant-Nanjala-Nyabola". Cipesa Events. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  43. ^ "Nanjala Nyabola's schedule for RightsCon Tunis 2019". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  44. ^ "Travelling While Black | Hurst Publishers". HURST. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  45. ^ a b c Saro-Wiwa, Noo (January 15, 2021). "Travelling While Black by Nanjala Nyabola book review | The TLS". Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  46. ^ a b Primorac, Ranka (2021-07-03). "Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on the Move". Wasafiri. 36 (3): 102–103. doi:10.1080/02690055.2021.1918469. ISSN 0269-0055.
  47. ^ "Rewriting The Travel Guidebook With Nanjala Nyabola : Rough Translation". Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  48. ^ "Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics". ZED Books. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  49. ^ "Book Review: Nanjala Nyabola, Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya". From Poverty to Power. 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  50. ^ "BOOK REVIEW: Kenya's digital democracy against analogue politics". Business Daily. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  51. ^ "Podcast Ep 09: Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics – Nanjala Nyabola". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  52. ^ "Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the digital era is transforming Kenya | University of Oxford Podcasts - Audio and Video Lectures". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  53. ^ "Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics". Berkman Klein Center. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  54. ^ "Book Talk : What Technology Can't Fix by Nanjala Nyabola | Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  55. ^ "On Digital Democracy in Kenya | Columbia SIPA". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  56. ^ "Old Civic Spaces in New Digital Places: Theorising Kenya's Digital Civil Society". Stanford PACS. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  57. ^ " : Book launch with Nanjala Nyabola - in conversation with Dr Duncan Omanga (CGHR)". Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  58. ^ Pilling, David (20 June 2019). "The fight to control Africa's digital revolution". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  59. ^ "Where Women Are: Gender & The 2017 Kenyan Elections". Heinrich Böll Stiftung East & Horn of Africa. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  60. ^ African Women Under Fire: Literary Discourses in War and Conflict.

External links[edit]