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The setting for Burning Embers: Mombasa

The setting for Burning Embers: Mombasa

The setting for Burning Embers: Mombasa

My novel Burning Embers is set in Mombasa in Kenya, on the east coast of the African continent. Because my book is a novel, not a travel or history guide, there is little room there to explore the many facets of this interesting town. So here I provide some nuggets of information for you as background:

  • Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya, with a population of around 100,000 people.
  • In Kiswahili, it is called Kisiwa Cha Mvita, which means ‘Island of War’ in reference to the history of conflicts over its ownership.
  • The city is actually on an island nestled against the mainland, separated by the harbour and a creek (take a look at Google maps – its geographical position is really rather unusual).
  • It became part of Kenya, which had just become independent from British rule, on 12 December 1963.
  • ll sorts of people live in Mombasa, but the two main groups are the Muslim Mijikenda and the Swahilis. Swahili women wear beautifully colourful kangas – like sheets, wrapped around the body.
  • The port is a focal point for activity in the city – it is Kenya’s only sea port, and is consequently full of the hustle and bustle that Coral encounters in Burning Embers. Once, it was a hub of the slave trade.
  • The 16th-century Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese, stands majestically on the coast near the Old Town. Interestingly, from the air the layout of the fort resembles a person. 
  • A memorable landmark is the Mombasa tusks on the path from the port to the town – built to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1952. The tusks are arranged into an M for Mombasa.
 

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