Category: Former Staff

Innocent Gathungu


Innocent Mwangi Gathungu is a Librarian/Information Manager at the BIEA. He holds a BSc Degree in Information Sciences and is about to complete an MA in Communication Studies from the University of Nairobi.

He joined the BIEA fresh from college in 1993 November as a part-time member of staff (Academic Editor/ Librarian). He was later in 1994 employed on a fulltime basis.

During his tenure at the BIEA, Innocent has been involved in running the Institute’s research library, designing and typesetting publications; and more recently in managing the Institute’s website.

His research interest is in “Communicating Climate Change”. To fulfill the requirements of the MA Communication Studies degree, he intends to undertake research into how the media has been reporting climate change with a view to demonstrating that despite the serious ramifications that climate change poses to the survival of mankind, the various media outlets appear not to give this serious issue the attention it deserves.


Humanities Research Fellow – Sinoxolo Musangi


Sinoxolo Musangi

Sinoxolo Musangi

Sinoxolo Musangi is the Humanities Research Fellow at the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Musangi holds a Masters of Arts (African Literature) from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg and a Bachelor of Education (English and Literature) from Egerton University, Kenya. Musangi is currently completing the PhD in African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In their thesis, entitled “Mediating the Archive in Transit: The Ngqoko Cultural Group”, Musangi examines the processes of meaning-making in ‘traditional’ Xhosa performances in present-day South Africa with a particular focus on the intersections of gender, nationalism, historical memory/heritage, tourism and intellectual property rights regimes within a global cultural marketplace.

Before joining the BIEA, Musangi taught in the School of Literature and Language Studies (undergraduate, Honours and Masters) at the University of the Witwatersrand in various modules particularly on gender and modes of African self-writing, East African popular culture and the media, Carribean literature and the Black Diaspora, urban geography, the novel and criminality in Kenya.

Personal Research Projects

My foundational disciplinary formation emerges from literature and language studies. However, my later work has increasingly taken an interdisciplinary approach in the use of research methodologies that include ethnography and archival research. While taking cues from feminist theory/ies, postcolonialism, queer theory and discourse analysis, I seek to interrogate historical events, personal experiences and cultural phenomena in a social lifeworld prescribed by normative orders and a general homogenous set of sociality.  My research interests include, but are indeed not limited to, gender and sexuality, popular culture, heritage and tourism, postcolonial memory and African national imaginaries with an emphasis on South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Currently, I am working on several independent and short-term projects in these areas:

  • (Co)convener (with Prof. Ambreena Manji) Women studies at the BIEA; a feminist reading group, seminar and lecture series.
  • “No preachers, hawkers and herbalists allowed on this bus”: Rethinking urban space and ‘quack’ culture in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Why was Jesus in Nairobi?: Mary Akatsa, Historicity and Subjective Political Pluralities in Kenya (1988-1999)
  • Trans(a)gressions, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Audrey Mbugua: The Maputo Protocol, 2003.
  • “The Cat that Got Trapped in a Jerry-Can”: Imagi(ni)ng News in Kenyan Prime Time Broadcasts

External responsibilities and Memberships

Senior Research Associate at Know Africa, a South African research consortium specializing in tailored research, analysis and training for those doing business in African countries.

Co-founder and Advisor at Iranti-Org, a Johannesburg-based queer media NGO working on training, media reporting, and advocacy for gender and sexual minorities in Africa.

As a social activist and performance artist, Musangi stages interventions for social change through impromptu performances in public spaces in Nairobi and Johannesburg.

Selected Publications

“A Zimbabwean Joke is no Laughing Matter” e-Humour and Versions of Subversion” Chiumbu, S. & Muchemwa, M. (eds) Crisis! What Crisis? The Multiple Dimensions of the Zimbabwean Crisis. Cape Town: HSRC. 2012

“From Communal Practice to Intellectual Property: The Ngqoko Cultural Group, Political Claim Making and Judicialization of Performance” in Mamadou Diawara and Ute Röschenthaler (eds). Staging the Immaterial: Rights, Style and Performance in Subsaharan Africa. Wantage: Sean Kingston Publishing (forthcoming).

“Recensions” in Kambala, Lisa Mushidi (2011). Gender and Asylum Determination in South Africa: Understanding ‘Gender’ within the Refugees Act 130 of 1998. Germany: LAP [Lambert Academic Publishing],

“Review: The Everyday Wife”. Scrutiny 2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa, Vol. 16:2, 2011, pp. 77-80 ISBN 9781920397050

“Amos Kwito” and “Gone are the Days” in Mboya, Tom (ed). Counterpoint and Other Poems. Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN 978 019573480 5

Ayoba, Ama Kip Kip, Ayoba”: The t-shirt cult in the forging of a Black urban youth identity in Johannesburg”. Scrutiny 2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa. Vol. 14 (1), 2009, pp. 49-56.

“Only a Few Skirmishes Here and There”: Interrogating the ‘Truth’ of an Election in the Kenyan Blogosphere”. Africa Insight. Vol 39 (1), 2009, pp. 86-97. 

Kerry Kyaa


Kerry Kyaa

Kerry Kyaa

Kerry Kyaa took up the post as a research fellow following her MPH at the University of Nottingham. Her general research interests are in health promotion especially with regard to individual behaviour, social environments, and how these aspects synergise to influence health related behaviour.

Women and children in particular have been the themes that have dominated her work in the recent past with special interest in female circumcision, as well as reproductive and sexual health.

Her research at the BIEA will examine male experiences with female circumcision in the West Pokot Community of Rift Valley province in Kenya. It will attempt to explicate male involvement as the ‘muted collaborator’ in the perpetuation of a practice whose persistency is often associated with women.

A strength of the study is that it will approach men directly without using women as proxies. It will ask them questions in areas that are often ignored such as their perceptions on the circumcision of women, preference, and their lived experience with a circumcised significant other. The study will employ multiple data collection tools including literature reviews, in-depth qualitative interviews, and questionnaires. It is also anticipated that experiential on-site observation of male engagement in the circumcision ceremonies will be done and recorded.

Professor Merrick Posnansky


Prof Merrick Posnansky

Prof Merrick Posnansky

Merrick Posnansky was appointed Assistant Director in charge of the Kampala Office of the British Institute at the Uganda Museum in 1962, where he had been curator since 1958.

As Assistant Director, he was involved in the negotiations with the nascent University of East Africa (UEA) for the Institute’s affiliation and the selection of a permanent base for the Institute. As part of this, he organized a regional training program in archaeology, with fieldwork training components at Kilwa (Tanzania) and Moiben (Kenya) in 1963. Also in 1962, he assisted the Brathay Exploration Group in bringing British and Uganda youth together to work on the rock art site of Nyero, the historic fort of Dufile and to engage in ethnoarchaeological work on Mount Elgon. While in post, he excavated at the Middle Stone Age site of Nyabusora (Tanzania) and the Later Stone Age and rock art site of Magosi (Uganda). He also taught archaeology at Makerere University College, the first regular courses in archaeology at a tropical African university, and wrote the blueprint for archaeology instruction for the UEA.

He is now Emeritus Professor of African Archaeology at UCLA, California.

Dr Robert Soper

Robert Soper joined the Institute from the Nigerian Federal Department of Antiquities at the beginning of 1965, at the time when the Institute was being relocated to Nairobi.

His main research involved a series of pioneering surveys of Iron Age sites in south-eastern and central Kenya, north-eastern Tanzania, the Mwanza area south of Lake Victoria and the Chobi area of Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. The discovery of the Kwale tradition extended the distribution of the Early Iron Age complex to the East African coast. He took over the directorship of the Institute’s Bantu Studies project from Brian Fagan. He also assisted Neville Chittick in excavations at Kilwa and Manda.

He left in 1972 to take up a Senior Lectureship in the newly created Archaeology Department at Ibadan, Nigeria. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Zimbabwe.

Professor David Phillipson FBA FSA

David Phillipson was appointed Assistant Director in 1973 from the (then) Zambia National Monuments Commission, where he had been Director.

As BIEA Assistant Director, he worked mainly on later prehistoric sites in northern Kenya (including Lowasera and Ele Bor) and made the initial reconnaissance of sites in the southern Sudan as part of a planned BIEA inter-disciplinary project. He also worked with Neville Chittick at Aksum in 1974. While in post, he edited a special issue of Azania (vol. 12) on the Late Stone Age of East Africa, as well as completing a BIEA memoir on the Prehistory of Zambia.

In the 1990s he conducted major renewed investigations at Aksum. He recently retired from post as Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Professor of African Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Peter Robertshaw

Peter Robertshaw was appointed as Assistant Director in 1979, prior to which he was employed as an archaeologist at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, South Africa. While in post, he completed his PhD from Cambridge in 1980.

While at the institute, he conducted research in the southern Sudan, at Later Stone Age shell midden sites on Lake Victoria and on early pastoralist sites in south-western Kenya. Shortly before leaving his post in 1988 to take up a one-year appointment at the University of Georgia, Robertshaw began to investigate state formation in western Uganda, which continues to be one of his main research interests.

He is now Professor of Anthropology at California State University, San Bernardino.

Dr Shane Doyle


Dr Shane Doyle

Dr Shane Doyle

Shane Doyle was appointed in September 1997, shortly before completing his PhD from Cambridge on the modern demographic and environmental history of Bunyoro, western Uganda.

His research while at the institute compared Bunyoro’s experience with that of Buhaya in northwest Tanzania, focussing on demographic and ecological consequences of limited land and problems of ill-health.

He is currently a lecturer in Wider World History at the Department of History, University of Leeds.

Dr Andrew Burton


Dr Andrew Burton

Dr Andrew Burton

Andrew Burton was appointed to the Assistant Directorship having completed a PhD at SOAS on the colonial response to urbanisation in Dar es Salaam during British rule. Research findings have been published in a series of articles and in a 2005 monograph in the BIEA-Currey series.

His research while at the institute covered issues of urbanisation in eastern Africa; the penal system in Tanzania; youth and delinquency in colonial and post-colonial Anglophone East Africa.

He is currently an affiliated researcher with the BIEA based in Addis Ababa, where he is working on articles and a monograph arising from his research on youth and delinquency.

Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones


Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones

Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones

Stephanie Wynne-Jones was appointed Assistant Director having just completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research was a regional study of Kilwa, in southern Tanzania, putting the growth of the town of Kilwa Kisiwani into its context within the local settlement pattern.

Her current research interests include early urbanism, the meaning of ceramic variation and the production and use of material culture. At BIEA she expanded these themes through research on Mafia island, around Ujiji next to Lake Tanganyika, and through excavations at Vumba Kuu on the southern Kenya coast. Stephanie now holds a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at the University of Bristol.