Sam Hopkins, and collaborator Marian Nur Goni, present their ongoing research project into the "man-eaters" of Tsavo at 'Re-connecting Objects' (09.09.2022) part of this years Berlin Biennale.
The "man-eaters" of Tsavo were two (of possibly more) lions who in 1898 brought the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway to a grinding halt. That lions could interfere with this key imperial project provoked colonial outrage and when they were killed their death was announced in the House of Lords. Since 1925, the taxidermied lions have been housed at the Field Museum in Chicago where, despite hopes to have them returned to Kenya, they remain until today.
Over decades, this story has been narrated, in popular books and films, as part of a heroic white man narrative. But how is it remembered and told in Kenya today? For whom is it significant and for what does it stand? Indeed, what would the lions trigger if they were brought back to Kenya?
This presentation, and research, is part of the international research project Re-connecting "Objects": Epistemic Plurality and Transformative Practices in and Beyond Museums.