Another World?
East Africa and the Global 1960s
Visualising cultural, intellectual and political networks

The 1960s were a vibrant time in East African history, when Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania all gained independence. The hopes for decolonisation were tangible in politics, art and society, and the optimism was felt across the region.

East Africa’s global connections were powerful and real at independence; however, by the early 1970s, these were broken down due to conflict and nationalism.

The visualisation highlights the vibrancy of the 1960s: while short-lived and fragile, this was a moment when East Africa enjoyed a global moment and a sense of freedom.

The circles of this East African cosmopolitan elite were small. Politicians, intellectuals, writers, artists and activists, all travelled and socialised in shared spaces, such as at universities, conferences, and bars.

The visualisation highlights the scale of activity, centred around institutions these figures attended or worked at, events they participated in, and publications written for. It showcases the strength of regionalism in this period, buttressed by the East African Community, which enabled travel and the development of connections. Some names are repeated frequently, highlighting the overlapping areas of activity, and the small nature of these circles. The data represented is a small selection of larger networks, some of which, due to reasons of scope, could not be represented here.




Timeline and Map The timeline shows when people were born and when they died (people still alive are represented until the end of the chart, without an ending vertical black line) and when institutions and publications were created and closed.
The map shows the spatial position of the different institutions and publications.