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Notes on the Geography of Kenya: Post-Colonial Nairobi: Photo 9

world pictures Kenya: Post-Colonial Nairobi

Here's a building that's easy to ignore, if you don't know its history. It's Nyayo House, the Nairobi Provincial Headquarters. It was built in the early 1980s, shortly after an attempted coup, and it was equipped not only with prison cells but with cells with watertight seals so prisoners could be held in knee-deep water for days. Special ducts could also deliver freezing or hot and dusty air. On May 1, 2003, the BBC reported that "many Kenyans are believed to have been tortured during Mr Moi's 24-year rule--2,000 in the infamous Nyayo House in Nairobi alone." The torture cells were put on public display, a step that did very little to satisfy the surviving victims. (The name Nyayo means "footsteps," in the sense of following in the footsteps of Kenya's first president, Moi's predecessor, Jomo Kenyatta.)

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