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MOLINACO, the Comorian Diaspora, and Decolonisation in East Africa's Indian Ocean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Early online date27 Aug 2021
Accepted/In press4 Aug 2021
E-pub ahead of print27 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press.

King's Authors


The marginal case of the decolonisation of Comoros has gained little attention from historians of Africa. By tracing the evolution of the Mouvement de libération nationale des Comores (MOLINACO) around East Africa's Indian Ocean basin, this article explores the possibilities and constraints of anticolonial organisation among a diaspora population whose own existence was threatened by the more exclusive political order that emerged from the process of decolonisation. In Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Kenya, and Madagascar, MOLINACO's activities were shaped and limited by contested issues of racial identity, island genealogy, partisan alignment, and international priorities among both the Comorian diaspora and their ‘host’ governments. Through a transterritorial approach, this article examines the difficulties for minority communities in navigating the transition from empire to nation-state, while also illustrating the challenges MOLINACO faced in its ultimately unsuccessful attempt to impose that same normative model onto the archipelago.

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