Juvenile delinquency and violence in the fiction of three Kenyan writers

  • Tom Odhiambo University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Keywords: Kenyan fiction, violence, postcolonial Africa, juvenile delinquency


This essay is a preliminary examination of crime and violence in postcolonial Kenyan fiction. It examines how three Kenyan writers have dealt with the themes of crime and violence in their fiction. Through examination of the fiction of John Kiriamiti, Meja Mwangi and John Kigia, the paper postulates that the prevalence of juvenile delinquents in this fiction and the related acts of violence and criminality could be read as indicators of the failure of the postcolonial Kenyan state to “include” these young men (and women) into the mainstream of society. The essay further argues that there is a correlation between marginalisation of the youth in society and their adoption of anti-social behaviour as strategies to access material resources.


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