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#Weareone: blood donation and dreams of inclusion in Kenya

Harrington, John ORCID: 2020. #Weareone: blood donation and dreams of inclusion in Kenya. Africa 90 , pp. 112-131. 10.1017/S0001972019000962

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This article examines responses to the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi in September 2013 in order to investigate the role played by blood donation, as an expression of national dreams, in the political imaginary of contemporary Kenya. It considers the symbolic effectiveness of calls for blood donation made by political figures in the aftermath of the attacks. Such calls drew on a tradition of donation drives begun in the early years of independence, which emphasized the modernizing imperative of the new state and the importance of unity, hard work and self-sacrifice in building the nation. However, the reaction to Westgate, including calls for blood donation, also needs to be understood with reference to the response of American and other leaders to equivalent terrorist attacks in more recent years. These elite dreams found resonance among ordinary citizens and blood donation recruiters. But they were also subjected to trenchant critiques that sought to expose the reality of the transfusion system, as well as the inequality and injustice that mark the general healthcare system and Kenyan society as a whole. These shortcomings were also highlighted by mobilization drives organized by Kenya's Somali and Asian communities both before and during the Westgate crisis. The latter are presented by their organizers as a means of overcoming historic exclusion and discrimination.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Additional Information: Published in - Special Issue 1 (Beyond realism: Africa's medical dreams)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0001-9720
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 7 February 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 22:31

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