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Journal for African Culture and Society
Matatu is published as journal as of 2016. All back volumes are still available in print. Follow the link to the journal for current submissions and publications.

Matatu was a series on African literatures and societies dedicated to interdisciplinary dialogue between literary and cultural studies, historiography, the social sciences and cultural anthropology. As a series it has been discontinued, and has been continued as a dynamic journal.
Matatu is animated by a lively interest in African culture and literature (including the Afro-Caribbean) that moves beyond worn-out clichés of “cultural authenticity” and “national liberation” towards critical exploration of African modernities. The East African public transport vehicle from which Matatu takes its name is both a component and a symbol of these modernities: based on “Western” (these days usually Japanese) technology, it is a vigorously African institution; it is usually regarded with some anxiety by those travelling in it, but is often enough the only means of transport available; it creates temporary communicative communities and provides a transient site for the exchange of news, storytelling, and political debate.
Matatu is firmly committed to supporting democratic change in Africa, to providing a forum for interchanges between African and European critical debates, to overcoming notions of absolute cultural, ethnic, or religious alterity, and to promoting transnational discussion on the future of African societies in a wider world.
Encounters with Post-colonial (Counter)Cultures (2000-2020)
How and when does culture enter the discourse on liberation, transition and crisis in an African post-colony such as Zimbabwe? In a deeply polarised nation reeling from a difficult transition and an unrelenting economic crisis, it is increasingly becoming difficult for the ZANU PF regime to prescribe and enforce its monolithic concept of liberation. This book culls, from contemporary (counter)cultures of liberation and transition, the state of liberations in Zimbabwe. It explores how culture has functioned as a complex site where rigid state-authored liberations are legitimated and naturalised but also where they are negotiated, contested and subverted.
A Relational View on Artistic Practices from Africa and the Diaspora
The present volume brings together contributions which explore artworks – including literature, visual arts, film and performances – as dynamic sites of worlding. It puts emphasis on the processes of creating or doing worlds, implying movement as opposed to the boundary drawing of area studies. From such a processual perspective, Africa is not a delineated area, but emerges in a variety of relations which can reach across the continent, but also the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic or Europe.

Contributors are: Thierry Boudjekeu, Elena Brugioni, Ute Fendler, Sophie Lembcke, Gilbert Ndi Shang, Samuel Ndogo, Duncan Tarrant, Kumari Issur, CJ Odhiambo, Michaela Ott, Peter Simatei, Clarissa Vierke, Chinelo J. Enemuo.
Volume Editor:
What is center and periphery? How can centers and peripheries be recognized by their ontological and axiological features? How does the axiological saturation of a literary field condition aesthetics? How did these factors transform center-periphery relationships to the former metropolises of Romance literatures of the Americas and Africa? What are the consequences of various deperipheralization contexts and processes for poetics? Using theoretical sections and case studies, this book surveys and investigates the limits of globalization. Through explorations of the intercultural dynamics, the aesthetic contributions of former peripheries are examined in terms of the transformative nature of peripheries on centralities.
When the Scottish poet Thomas Pringle emigrated to the Cape Colony in 1820 he voyaged also into a new creative life and an art responsive to his colonial home, “sterner verse” for “darker scenes”. Accompanying him to the Cape, the sonnet became his most consistent choice for capturing his experiences and convictions, his personal crises and the greater trauma of colonial appropriation and racial oppression. In this study his unique contribution to the Romantic-era sonnet is for the first time given its full due, through readings that are as attentive to form and formal agency as to the cultural, social and historical conditions in which they are enmeshed. Moving beyond colonial theory to consider issues of literary migration, this illuminating work shows how Pringle effectively opened up a radical conversation between the habitual modes of perception and response of British Romanticism and his new, southern world.
Die Schriftenreihe ALE befasst sich mit der Erforschung der englischsprachigen Literaturen Afrikas in der Breite und Vielfalt ihrer Themen, Formen und soziohistorischen Kontexte. Gleichzeitig impliziert der Titel, dass der Forschungsgegenstand als Hinterlassenschaft des britischen Kolonialismus ein kulturell hybrides Phänomen ist, welches im weiteren Umfeld der Colonial Studies mitsamt deren postkolonialer Kritik und Revision anzusiedeln ist. Entsprechend sollen die relevanten Texte einerseits als Teil des Symbolsystems Literatur einschließlich seiner einschlägigen ästhetischen Verfahren verstanden werden, in anderer Hinsicht aber als Teil des Sozialsystems und damit der Selbstinterpretation wie Selbstverständigung von Gesellschaften über ihre gemeinsame Sinngebung zu sehen sind.

The series ALE is focused on researching all African literatures written in the English language, encompassing the breadth and multiplicity of their thematic, formal and socio-historical aspects. The title equally implies that the object of study is conceived as a consequence of British colonialism, thus making it into a cultural hybrid that is inscribed in the wider context of Colonial Studies including their postcolonial critique and revision. Accordingly the texts to be studied are not only understood as forming part of the symbolic system of literature and its aesthetic procedures, but in an equal measure as part of the social system where they belong with the process of societies making meaning of themselves.
Swahili Poetry of Commitment by Ustadh Mahmoud Mau
The present volume is a pioneering collection of poetry by the outstanding Kenyan poet, intellectual and imam Ustadh Mahmmoud Mau (born 1952) from Lamu island, once an Indian Ocean hub, now on the edge of the nation state. By means of poetry in Arabic script, the poet raises his voice against social ills and injustices troubling his community on Lamu. The book situates Mahmoud Mau’s oeuvre within transoceanic exchanges of thoughts so characteristic of the Swahili coast. It shows how Swahili Indian Ocean intellectual history inhabits an individual biography and writings. Moreover, it also portrays a unique African Muslim thinker and his poetry in the local language, which has so often been neglected as major site for critical discourse in Islamic Africa.
The selected poetry is clustered around the following themes: jamii: societal topical issues, ilimu: the importance of education, huruma: social roles and responsabilities, matukio: biographical events and maombi: supplications. Prefaced by Rayya Timamy (Nairobi University), the volume includes contributions by Jasmin Mahazi, Kai Kresse and Kadara Swaleh, Annachiara Raia and Clarissa Vierke. The authors’ approaches highlight the relevance of local epistemologies as archives for understanding the relationship between reform Islam and local communities in contemporary Africa.
Early African Caribbean Newspapers as Archipelagic Media in the Emancipation Age shows how two Black-edited periodical publications in the early decades of the nineteenth century worked towards emancipation through medium-specific interventions across material and immaterial lines. More concretely, this book proposes an archipelagic framework for understanding the emancipatory struggles of the Antiguan Weekly Register in St. John’s and the Jamaica Watchman in Kingston. Complicating the prevalent narrative about the Register and the Watchman as organs of the free people of color, this book continues to explore the heterogeneity and evolution of Black newspaper print on the liberal spectrum. As such, Early African Caribbean Newspapers makes the case that the Register and the Watchman participated in shaping the contemporary communication market in the Caribbean. To do so, this study engages deeply with both the textuality and materiality of the newspaper and presents fresh visual material.
From a Survivor Parent to the Next Generation
Known for its breathtaking scenery, the central-east African country of Rwanda lived through one of the worst episodes of violence of the late 20th century, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in which over a million people were brutally murdered in 100 days.This book recounts the personal story of Claver Irakoze who survived the genocide as an eleven-year-old child and, like other Rwandans of his generation, is now grappling with the heavy responsibility of raising children in the post-genocide context.Tracing the various stages of Irakoze’s life experiences, each chapter teases out issues surrounding childhood, parenting and the transmission of memories between generations. The final chapter draws on Irakoze’s personal and professional experience to provide some reflections on managing memories of genocide within the family.