The memory of the colonial experience is a recurrent topic in the Swahili prose produced after the independencies. The present article investigates how East African writers creating in the Swahili language reconstructed and preserved the local reminiscences of the colonial trauma, sometimes in reaction to the solicitations of the political leaders. The textual analysis is contextualised by taking into account the historical, cultural and linguistic specificities of the two countries where post-independence Swahili literature developed, namely Kenya and Tanzania.
The present article investigates Shafi Adam Shafi’s Vuta n’kuvute (The tug of war, 1999), a historical novel which is set in Zanzibar in the late colonial period. Textual analysis highlights how the novel’s linguistic and stylistic peculiarities intermingle inextricably with the contents in constructing the text as a whole, as they are loaded with meanings and symbolic implications which help in the reconstruction of many aspects of the work in connection to the literary, socio-cultural and political context of contemporary Tanzania.