S. Sian

Publication Date



Racial demarcation and social exclusion were common features in the organization of racially diverse colonial societies. British settlement in colonial Kenya and the import of immigrant workers resulted in the creation of a hierarchical society in which the Europeans enjoyed privileges to the exclusion of the immigrant Asians and the indigenous Africans. This study sets out to show how changes in the organization of this society and commonly held prejudices within it were reflected and even amplified in the organization of the accountancy profession. Drawing from archival and oral history data, the study traces the patterns of participation in accountancy of all three races. The paper covers the period from the turn of the 20th century, which marked the arrival of the first British accountants, to 1970, the advent of Kenyan professional accountancy examinations. The growth of commercial activity in the colony and new legislation to regulate it in the early 20th century resulted in a demand for providers of accountancy services and a preponderance of British accountants. The entry of Asian participants in the formal profession in Kenya, through membership of British accountancy bodies, is recorded after World War II. However, it was the achievement of political independence in 1963 and the ensuing societal transformations that signaled African participation. Such changing patterns of participation reflect the increasingly permeable boundaries to be found in wider Kenyan society after independence despite the continuing manifestation of racial prejudice.



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