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Crossing the Border

Author: Abenea Ndago
ISBN: 978-1-926906-77-5


What Others Say
“Abenea Ndago explored and revealed a uniquely Kenyan territory in his earlier
novel, Voices. ‘Crossing the Border’, an equally refreshing read makes western
Kenya’s past ethnic strife uniquely his own. This is the work of a master who trod
the very hills, rivers, streams, sugarcane plantations and tribal idiosyncrasies of
his characters and painfully evokes and retells the tribal spirits of postcolonial
Kenya. Though written, the narrative is a griot’s account of inter- ethnic history
of the Luo and their neighbours, the Kalenjin and the kisiis, and the inevitable
competing tribal consciousness .The politically instigated tribal wars of the 1990s
in Kenya is immortalized in this postcolonial Kenyan narrative by a relatively young
novelist”. – Mahat Hassan, Kenyan Literary Critic.



The collapse of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 marked the beginning of multi-party politics in many parts of the Third World. The same also held true for African countries. The political landscape changed. In Kenya, the early 1990s were years of ethnic cleansing through arson, land clashes, evictions, forcible displacement, and murder of members of communities then perceived to be sympathetic to the opposition. What happened to those years’ children continues to live in the collective memory of today’s adult Kenyans.

Crossing the Border is a novella which captures that moment in Kenya’s history. It fictionalises the experiences of a schoolboy in a tiny village called Odiya, situated at the border between Kenya’s Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces, near the small town of Songhor, in early 1992.

Not only does the story record the sadness of those years, it also focuses on proper education as an important agent for national awareness, human compassion, and communal reconciliation especially in the case of children and young citizens. The book is dedicated to all child victims of political violence anywhere in the world, but more so in Africa, where similar evils are still regularly planned and executed by governments in power.

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