Africa at Noon on February 10, 2016

“’Mau Mau are Angels… Sent by Haile Selassie’: Beyond the Nation in Africa and the Caribbean”

Myles Osborne
Associate Professor, History
University of Colorado Boulder

Time and Location

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


This paper draws together Mau Mau – the guerrilla war fought against the British in Kenya during the 1950s – with Jamaica’s Rastafari . It shows how the poor in Jamaican society were inspired by the Kenyan movement, and how each movement came to represent a vision of living and community beyond the nation state and nationalist politics we usually think of in the period of decolonization.


Myles Osborne is Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2008. His research focuses on ethnicities in Africa, as well as other topics relating to British colonialism, decolonization, Mau Mau, and pan-Africanism. He is the author of Ethnicity and Empire in Kenya: Loyalty and Martial Race among the Kamba, c. 1800 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2014) (a finalist for the African Studies Association’s Ogot Book Prize), Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 (with Susan Kent; Routledge, 2015) and editor of The Life and Times of General China: Mau Mau and the End of Empire in Kenya (Markus Wiener Publishers, 2015). He has published articles in the Journal of African History, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth HistoryJournal of Eastern African StudiesInternational Journal of African Historical Studies, and History in Africa.