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Susan Beckerleg

Abstract

The changing ethnic identity and origins of people of Bedouin and African origin living in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip are explored in this paper. For thousands of years, and into the twentieth century, slaves were captured in Africa and transported to Arabia. Negev Bedouin in Palestine owned slaves, many of whom were of African origin. When Israel was created in 1948 some of these people of African origin became refugees in Gaza, while others remained in the Negev and became Israeli citizens. With ethnic identity a key factor in claims and counter claims to land in Palestine/Israel, African slave origins are not stressed. The terminology of ethnicity and identity used by people of African origin and other Palestinians is explored, and reveals a consciousness of difference and rejection of the label abed or slave/black person.

Susan Beckerleg

Abstract

Migration from Yemen to East Africa has been occurring for centuries and continued well into the twentieth century. Since the European explorations of the nineteenth century the term 'Arab-Swahili', as distinguished from 'African', has been in use. The ways that Yemenis have both adopted and changed Swahili culture in Kenya are outlined in this paper. Most Yemeni migrants who settled in Uganda passed through Mombasa, acquiring some knowledge of the Swahili language en route. However, the Yemenis of Uganda are not Swahili, despite using the Swahili language as a major medium of communication, even at home. Ugandan 'Arab' food eaten at home and cooked by Yemenis in cafes is actually Indian/Swahili cuisine. The ways that Yemenis have promoted the cultivation of qat across Uganda and have made its consumption a marker of identity are described. The degree that the terminology of diaspora studies can be applied to Yemenis in Kenya and Uganda is assessed, and concludes that the migrants are both 'cultural hybrids' and 'transnationals'.