Consumer Culture and 'Black is Beautiful' in Apartheid South Africa and Early Postcolonial Kenya
Engaging the 'method of connective comparison', this article examines linkages between consumer culture and political debates in apartheid South Africa and early postcolonial Kenya. It does so by considering the history of skin lighteners, commodities that were both common and controversial. Largely unnoticed by commentators at the time, the growth of a black consumer market for skin lighteners in Kenya was tied to the earlier emergence of such a market in South Africa. This history also reveals how, in both countries, matters of consumer culture and anti-racist politics were often refracted through the prism of the United States.