Hundreds of Nubians congregate for the wedding party. The ceremony runs all night long. Women in traditional dress called "gurbaba" perform a traditional dance called "doluka." Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
Nubians from Sudan were conscripted into the British Army in the 1880s and brought to Kenya in the early 1900s. The Nubians fought for the British in East Africa during the First and Second World Wars in an elite military unit called the King's African Rifles. A woman holds a photo of her grandfather who served in the King's African Rifles. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
In 1917, the British gave 4,000 acres of land to the Nubians to settle on as compensation for not being able to return to Sudan. The Nubians called the land "Kibra" or "Land of Forest." All of their claims to the land of Kibra have been denied by Kenyan authorities. Once situated among bush, mango trees and green grass, this Nubian family's home is almost 100 years old. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
Over the past 40 years, hundreds of thousands of rural migrants have flooded into Nairobi seeking jobs, and Kibra was the place where they were encouraged to settle. Nubian claims to title deed for the land of Kibra have never been recognized. Eventually, the Nubian village of Kibra would come to be known as Kibera, one of the largest and most notorious slums in Africa. As a result, The Nubians would lose almost all of their land. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
Even though they have lived in Kenya for over 100 years, the Nubian community has historically been denied recognition. Since Kenya's independence, they have been denied many social, civil and economic rights. Up until the most recent census conducted in mid-2009 the Nubian community was not a formally recognized tribe of Kenya; they were considered as "Other Kenyans" or simply "Others." Elders in the Nubian community sit in a soda shop in the Makina section of Kibera. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
Rulings by the government after Kenya's independence in 1963 changed Kibera's status into an "unauthorized settlement," rendering the inhabitants of Kibera, including the Nubians, as squatters. A Nubian woman and children stand in front of one of the oldest Nubian buildings in Kibera, called Nyumba Kumbya. Nubians hid Jomo Kenyatta and other Kikuyu freedom fighters from the British in this building during the Mau Mau rebellion. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
In 1955 the total population of the Nubian village of Kibra was 3,000. Nubian families once had spacious plots of land called "shambas." Today hundreds of thousands of people live in dilapidated rooms and huts in Kibera. Nubian homes are considered temporary structures, even though some Nubian homes are almost 100 years old. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
This 79-year-old Nubian man once lived on a large plot of land in the Lomle section of Kibera, but in 1978 developers came, destroyed his family's home and forced them to move to another section of Kibera. "We're being squeezed into extinction," he says. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
The Kibera Primary School opened in 1953 and was built specifically so that future generations of Nubians could go to school. Queen Elizabeth II dedicated the school when it opened. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
Nubians must prove their connection to Kenya when they turn 18. The process is called "vetting" and is required for Nubians to be issued Kenya national ID cards, which are essential for everything from getting a job to driving a car. Nubians are one of the only people in Kenya to be vetted. Nubian youth often have to wait years before they are issued an ID card. Two unemployed Nubian youth sit in their youth group's office in Kibera. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
While members of Kenya's recognized tribes receive their ID cards in only a few days, or at most a few weeks, many Nubian youth have had to wait years to be issued IDs. Without IDs these Nubian youth cannot find work. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
While people from larger tribes hold important positions in the private and public sectors in Kenya, few Nubians have positions significant enough to influence their community's development. Most Nubian youth are limited to working odd jobs in Kibera. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
Unemployed Nubian youth collect garbage to earn extra money. As land prices escalate in Nairobi, private development and unsuccessful slum upgrading programs surround Kibera. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
This family has lived in the Laini Shaba area of Kibera for over 100 years. "Kibera wasn't always like this. To be from Kibera meant that you were Nubian. Now, to be from Kibera means that you are from a slum." Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
While Nubians are now a minority in Kibera, they are determined to preserve their traditions and cultural identity. Nubian weddings draw in people from all over Kibera. Hundreds walk through the dusty paths in the Makina section of Kibera during a traditional Nubian wedding ceremony. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
When people question them about their connection to Kibera, many Nubians will tell them about the cemetery. Nubians have been buried at a Kibera cemetery since World War I. Nubian men make a final prayer at the Nubian cemetery in the Makina section of Kibera. It is the only graveyard in Kibera, as most residents in Kibera make the long journey to their rural homes to be buried. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.
In downtown Nairobi a memorial honors those who served and died in both World Wars and who helped build Kenya. The soldier standing on the left side of the memorial is a Nubian soldier of the King's African Rifles. Image by Greg Constantine. Kenya, 2008.

The Nubian community in Kenya has lived in the country for over 100 years, yet has historically been denied recognition. After Kenya's independence, many people in the Nubian community were not extended Kenyan nationality, and since then they have struggled for many social, civil and economic rights. Up until the most recent census conducted in 2009, the Nubian community was not a formally recognized tribe of Kenya; they were considered as "Other Kenyans" or simply "Others." They have faced difficulties in obtaining national ID cards, passports as well as economic opportunities that are easily accessible to Kenyans from other tribes. In 1912, the British government designated 4,197 acres of land for the Nubians to settle on as their new homeland in Kenya. The land was located outside of what would become the city of Nairobi. The Nubians called the land Kibra or "land of forest." Since Kenya's independence, the Nubian community has been denied title to this land. Over the past 40 years, hundreds of thousands of Kenyans would flood into Nairobi seeking work and Kibra was the place where they were encouraged to settle. Eventually, the Nubian village of Kibra would come to be know as Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa.

Over the years the Nubian community has striven for recognition in order to contribute to a country and society it has lived in for generations. Recent developments in Kenya's laws and a new constitution over the past year have provided some hope for the Nubian community, but having been marginalized economically and politically for decades, the community still faces a number of challenges.

Project

From the slums of Nairobi to the sugar plantations of the Dominican Republic to the far reaches of Bangladesh, entire communities live without citizenship rights. They are “the stateless”.

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