Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship

Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship


Scholars' Library: In Conversation with Ken Kamoche on 'Black Ghosts'

Scholars' Library: In Conversation with Ken Kamoche on 'Black Ghosts'

22 March 2022

17:00 - 18:00 (GMT+00:00)

Online Platform


Join Ken Kamoche (Kenya & St Catherine's 1988) for a conversation on his Fiction novel 'Black Ghosts'.

We are pleased to invite you to take part in a conversation with Ken Kamoche (Kenya & St Catherine's 1988), author of 'Black Ghosts'.

In dialogue with fellow Scholar Ruth Nyakerario Nyabuto (Kenya & Linacre 2018), amongst other topics Ken will discuss Africa-China relations, displacement, diaspora and finding a place in a globalised world, as well as his journey to becoming a writer, and what inspired Black Ghosts.

Scholars may obtain a copy of Black Ghosts here:

Black Ghosts is a novel about the lives of Africans in China from the late 1980s at the time of the Tiananmen massacre, and is set against a backdrop of controversial Africa-China relations. It is ultimately a love story in an extremely difficult time. It is the story of a young man from Zimbabwe who earns an unlikely and surprising scholarship to study engineering in China, benefitting from China’s largess towards comrades from fellow emerging economies, settles in Hong Kong, marries a Chinese girl who subsequently runs away with their daughter after he gets mixed up with dangerous loan sharks as he pursues a reckless dream to make it big like his friends. He is desperate to be reunited with his family. Meanwhile, his native Zimbabwe is imploding following the invasion of white farms. An old benefactor from his Nanjing days turns up, wanting to be guided on a mission to ‘invest in Africa’, following in the footsteps of the legendary Ming dynasty Admiral Zheng He.

Ken Kamoche (Kenya & St Catherine's 1988) was born and raised in Kenya. He studied accounting and finance at the University of Nairobi, and after an internship at an engineering firm in Gdansk, Poland, decided he wanted to research general management. He was the Kenyan Rhodes Scholar for 1988. Based at St Catherine’s College, he read management at Templeton College, and after completing an MPhil and DPhil, he began an academic career at the University of Birmingham in 1992. Five years later, he moved to the City University of Hong Kong. It was during his years in Hong Kong that he honed his writing skills, and published several short stories in magazines such as Ambit, World Literature Today, New York Stories, Kunapipi, Wasafiri and in several edited works. Some of these stories later appeared in A Fragile Hope (Salt, 2007), a collection of short stories which made the Commonwealth Best First Book Award shortlist, and one story won second prize in the Olaudah Equiano Prize for African Writing. The congruence of some of these stories inspired the novel Black Ghosts.

Ruth Nyakerario Nyabuto (Kenya & Linacre 2018) completed her studies in 2020 and is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA). Ruth serves as the academic coordinator of the recently established Refugee Led Research Hub, located at the BIEA. While at Oxford, she read for the MSc Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and MSc African Studies. She has keen interest in literature, creative writing and Africa International Relations.


Please register via this EventBrite page. Your link to join the conversation can be found in your confirmation email, so please keep this safe.

This event is not open to the public but will be recorded for the benefit of those who are unable to attend.

Q & A:

Please feel free to submit any questions in advance to or you can use the chat function within Zoom to ask questions directly during the live event.