Mama Jua Kali: Female Resistance and Resilience to the Coloniality of Modernism and Neoliberalism in Nairobi, Kenya
The coloniality of modernism and neoliberalism peripheralises the informal sector. Individuals in the informal economy (also known as ‘Jua Kali’ or literally ‘hot sun,’ a term that is used to describe businesses in the informal economy that operate in open spaces subjecting its operators to hardship and harsh weather elements) are not only treated as nonhuman and primitive, but they are also disregarded in matters of economic development. Mama Jua Kali (literally ‘Mother Jua Kali,’ a term given to this woman and other women - for demonstrating prowess in the informal sector business and identifying with it) and fellow workers in the informal economy negotiate their everyday life in the context of neglect, stifling and attack from modernity and neoliberalism. This paper adopts a case study methodology to describe how Mama Jua Kali of Kamukunji Jua Kali cluster has been navigating her everyday livelihood through resistance and resilience over the last 40 years. She navigates her livelihood using the feminine utu (humaneness) and genius of caring, compassion and nurturing to build alliances with men and women in the informal economy cluster in order to survive the effects of modernity and neoliberalism. By adapting her experience to modernism and neoliberalism, the informal economy lives on to the next generation in a quiet revolution.