The historical power of the imagination : Ngugi Wa Thiong'o and the production of place
Ongaro, Shannon Marie
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The Norfolk Hotel stands as a symbol for diverse cultural projects. Playground to white settlers such as Karen Blixen and her cohorts, it represents a British colonial history of Kenya. Purity, civilization, and order all are hallmarks of traditional colonial conceptions of "good government." In the Norfolk's heyday as a sanctuary for white settlers, it was seen to exist in contrast to its surroundings. The Kenyan landscape itself could not have been stranger to the colonists coming from Great Britain. Kenya did not have the green rolling hills and year round water that white settlers remembered from their homelands. Kenya was disorder and drought; it needed technology and agriculture. Above all it needed progress, so went the imperialist rallying cry, economic and cultural progress to be precise. The Norfolk symbolized these notions of imperial progress on an otherwise hostile terrain.