African Women Commuter Traders in Nairobi in the First Decade after World War 1: 1919-1929

  • P O Ngesa University of Nairobi


This article investigates African women commuter trading activities in Nairobi in the first decade after World War One. Its findings derive mainly from a research project carried out in 1989-1996. The major source of data for the study was oral interviews with the women who traded in Nairobi during the years under study, as well as with eyewitnesses to their trading activities. Sampling of such respondents employed the purposive technique because of its ability to deal with the problem of an incomplete population frame by conveniently drawing the required study sample from available resources. The research drew other data from library and archival sources, especially to corroborate the oral evidence. However, this article utilises additional archival and library data to achieve greater comprehensiveness than was attained in the earlier version. The article therefore makes an important intellectual contribution to the ongoing debate on the social, political and economic role and impact of African women’s economic activities such as commodity trade in African towns.


Key Words


Commuter traders, pre-colonial, colonial, money economy, socio-economic differentiation


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-7714
print ISSN: 0251-043X