Deepening Roots: Sikh Sacred Sound and Service, and Affective Belonging in Kenya

Inderjit N. Kaur (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Starting as a humble shed in the early twentieth century, the Sikh temple in Makindu, Kenya, has established itself not only as a significant pilgrimage site for Sikhs with roots in East Africa, but an ecosystem of symbiotic co-flourishing with the indigenous African community. Buttressed by history and myth, the temple complex has developed into a large compound housing worship halls, free board and lodging for visitors, and a free hospital for the locals. In this paper, I ethnographically explore how, against a backdrop of racial tensions, Sikhs deepen their roots in Kenya with this soundscape of positive affective entanglements.

Part of V2-05 Belonging, Folklore, and Identity, Wednesday, October 11, 3:30 pm–5:30 pm