Lamu: History, Society, and Family in an East African Port City

This book depicts the history of Lamu, once an important East African port city but now known as an unspoiled tourist destination and scenic location for Hollywood movies.

Records from both the distant past and the more recent period give voice to the opinions of the WaAmu on many issues: Islam, slavery, material culture, and the wide-ranging effects of colonialism. Here we read about clashes between matriarchy as practiced in Central Africa and the Arab-based patriarchy in family and social life. Romero weaves into her account fascinating aspects of Lamu’s material culture, social structure, and family life among those who are called the Swahili.

Patricia Romero (Johns Hopkins University) is the author of Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical and the editor of Women’s Voices on Africa (available from Markus Wiener).