Future Tense: A Mixed Outlook for Kenya’s Coast

Protesting youths outside the Masjid Musa Mosque, Mombasa, Kenya, Oct. 25, 2013 (AP photo).
Protesting youths outside the Masjid Musa Mosque, Mombasa, Kenya, Oct. 25, 2013 (AP photo).
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Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city and historical center of commerce, has long been something of a paradox. As a hub of Indian Ocean trade for more than a millennium, the city of 1.2 million has a deeply cosmopolitan past that’s visible in its diversity of ethnicities, religions, fashions and architectural styles. Today, a short stroll from Fort Jesus, the imposing seaside garrison built by the Portuguese in 1596, leads into an old town shaped by Arab, Indian, British and Swahili influences. Here, the narrow, winding streets, amid houses adorned with intricately carved doors and balconies, are filled with men in ankle-length […]

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