After being brutally raped during Kenya’s recent post-election riots, Stella, a high-school girl from the slums, struggles to find peace within herself and her fractured country.

Stella Nyawira is a nineteen-year-old Kenyan girl who, until recently, was single-mindedly devoted to finishing high school with high marks. Growing up in one of Nairobi’s most violent slums, Stella was used to seeing life as a struggle. But that has never kept her from dreaming big. Her ultimate goal, she proclaims with a smile, is to study journalism and become a “super-broadcaster.”


That dream was nearly shattered on Dec. 29th, 2007, when a group of partisan youths broke into the one-room apartment she calls home and raped her, leaving her for dead.

What happened to Stella is sadly symbolic of the violation of the public trust that occurred during Kenya’s recent election crisis other and sending the country into violence and insecurity after years of political stability. What is most stunning is how fast it occurred, almost overnight. How did Stella’s life, so beautiful and full of hope, become so tragically violated?

How did Kenya go from being a peaceful, stable nation, with over 5% economic growth to an embittered battle-ground, it’s once fertile Rift Valley described now as “killing fields,” it’s Nairobi slum-militias even nicknaming themselves the Taliban?

And how does a nineteen-year-old girl make sense of it all?

Amani Noma, A Hard Peace traces the events leading up to the Kenyan national presidential elections of 2007 and its tragic aftermath, leaving over 1500 dead 300,000 displaced or homeless, an entire nation, once considered an African success story, brought to the brink of disaster.