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Stretching from Senegal to Nigeria, the West African coast was once the locus of the transatlantic slave trade. What is less known, however, is the history of enslavement on the continent’s eastern edge. At Kenya’s southernmost point are the Shimoni Caves, a network of subterranean tunnels where slaves were held before being shipped to Portugal and the Middle East. These prehistoric spaces also form a system with the Kisima and Suswa caves, which historically functioned as places of safety and refuge in what is now Kwale County.

“Depending on which side of the tunnel you are travelling toward,” says architect Stella Mutegi of Nairobi’s Cave_bureau, “you either found safety or you found great danger.” Mutegi, together with...

Cave_bureau is Redefining Museum Typology

Kenya-based architecture studio examines the museum from beyond the western canon.

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