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Radical Bookstores and a Library to Check out in Nairobi

Article by Maureen Kasuku
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Posted: October 21, 2021  

Brick-and-mortar bookstores are still going strong in 2021, continuing to provide literary Nairobians with the written word despite the specter of e-books. If you’re still on that Mashujaa Day high and looking for a radical bookstore with a specific mission of effecting social change, here’s where you can start:

Cheche Bookshop & Cafe
At Cheche, Feminism, Socialism, Pan African history & literature intersect in an aesthetically pleasing Afro -chic space. Ubax Abdi, the twenty-something founder of Cheche, was inspired to open up this literary space for people who wanted an alternative to the conventional bookshops in Nairobi overloaded with self-help, religious titles and foreign bestsellers.

Matigari Book Club

Based at Mathare Social Justice Centre, Matigari book club was co-founded by the young, indomitable social justice activist Juliet Wanjira. Matigari book club has a collection of child-friendly Pan-African non fiction books & novels, afro-centric colouring books and zines.

Comrades Book House

Comrades Bookhouse was founded on November 11, 2020 when Njuki Githethwa, a writer and scholar activist, brought to the bookhouse all the books relating to African Literature from his personal library. Comrades Bookhouse specializes in nurturing and promotion of African writers and literature in the form of novels, drama, short stories, poetry, creative non-fiction, orature, among other genres.

Ukombozi Library

Ukombozi Library is based at 746 Uniway House, University Way and was established in 2017 by a group of progressive African libraries and information activists, in partnership with Vita Books, Mwakenya December Movement, and the Mau Mau Research. The Library aims to make available progressive material and to encourage reading, study, and research by working people in Kenya.

Soma Nami

Soma Nami was founded in 2017 by Muthoni Muiruri to nurture connections and catalyze conversations around important issues. Located on the ground floor of Greenhouse mall along Ngong road, the aesthetically pleasing bookstore is home to thought- provoking literature by mostly women and African authors. They curate and deliver monthly book boxes for both children and adult readers.

About the author

Maureen Kasuku

Maureen is our resident cat lady and Beyoncé stan. She writes about spas, brunch and ballet recitals but has never been to any. Moonlights as a social justice activist in her spare time. She knows things and is obnoxiously opinionated on the internet but not in real life

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