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Author: Sergio Baldi
Following the publication in 2008 of Dictionnaire des emprunts arabes dans les langues de l'Afrique de l'Ouest et en Swahili, Dictionary of Arabic Loanwords in the Languages of Central and East Africa completes and offers the results of over 20 years of research on Arabic loanwords. The volume reveals the impact Arabic has had on African languages far beyond the area of its direct influence. As in the previous volume, the author analyses the loans in the greatest possible number of languages spoken in the area, based on the publications he found in the most important libraries of the main universities and academic institutions specialised in the field. By suggesting the most frequently used Arabic loanwords, the dictionary will be an invaluable guide to African-language lexicon compilers, amongst others.
In: Performing Religion
East Africa as a Literary and Linguistic Contact Zone
Volume Editors: Lutz Diegner and Frank Schulze-Engler
This wide-ranging collection deals with the dynamics of current developments in literature, language, and culture in Kenya and Tanzania. It testifies to a spirited exchange of ideas between writers and academics and promotes transdisciplinary dialogue among several academic fields – anglophone and Swahili studies, literary studies and linguistics, East African and German academic discourse, Kenyan and Tanzanian perspectives. The contributions create a ‘contact zone’ of their own that will generate productive impulses for transdisciplinary research and allow readers to gain new insights into trajectories of Swahili and anglophone writing in East Africa.
Topics covered include literary language choice and translation, popular fiction and codeswitching, Swahili hip-hop texts, HIV/AIDS discourse, the advance of ‘Sheng’ and ‘Engsh’ in literary-linguistic space, contemporary women’s literature in Kenya, and special studies of Abdulrazak Gurnah and David G. Maillu.

CONTRIBUTORS
MIKHAIL D. GROMOV • ABDULRAZAK GURNAH • SISSY HELFF • LILLIAN KAVITI • EUPHRASE KEZILAHABI • SAID A.M. KHAMIS • ALDIN K. MUTEMBEI • YVONNE ADHIAMBO OWUOR • UTA REUSTER–JAHN • ALINA N. RINKANYA • GABRIEL RUHUMBIKA • CLARISSA VIERKE • KYALLO WADI WAMITILA
Author: Gregory F. Barz
Performing Religion considers issues related to Tanzanian kwayas [KiSwahili, “choirs”], musical communities most often affiliated with Christian churches, and the music they make, known as nyimbo za kwaya [choir songs] or muziki wa kwaya [choir music]. The analytical approach adopted in this text focusing on the communities of kwaya is one frequently used in the fields of ethnomusicology, religious studies, culture studies, and philosophy for understanding diversified social processes-consciousness. By invoking consciousness an attempt is made to represent the ways seemingly disparate traditions coexist, thrive, and continue within contemporary kwaya performance.
An East African kwaya is a community that gathers several times each week to define its spirituality musically. Members of kwayas come together to sing, to pray, to support individual members in times of need, and to both learn and pass along new and inherited faith traditions. Kwayas negotiate between multiple musical traditions or just as often they reject an inherited musical system while others may continue to engage musical repertoires from both Europe and Africa. Contemporary kwayas comfortably coexist in the urban musical soundscape of coastal Dar es Salaam along with jazz dance bands, taarab ensembles, ngoma performance groups, Hindi film music, rap, reggae, and the constant influx of recorded American and European popular musics.
This ethnography calls into question terms frequently used to draw tight boundaries around the study of the arts in African expressive religious cultures. Such divisions of the arts present well-defended boundaries and borders that are not sufficient for understanding the change, adaptation, preservation, and integration that occur within a Tanzanian kwaya. Boundaries break down within the everyday performance of East African kwayas, such as Kwaya ya Upendo [“The Love Choir”] in Dar es Salaam, as repertoires, traditions, histories, and cultures interact within a performance of social identity.
Three East African Arabic Historical Documents
This work consists of the translation and annotation of three East African Arabic / Swahili manuscripts together with the original texts. They cover aspects of the history of the coast from the early Himyaritic period up to the beginning of the 20th century. By the use of earlier, in some cases hitherto unused Arabic sources, the authors of the texts have contributed to a fuller picture of the East African coastal history. The texts relate directly to works on East African coastal history that have appeared since the latter part of the 19th century. They are presented against the background of general Arabic and Islamic history. The annotations indicate, and some case stress, significant hints and references to matters that need to be borne in mind, along with archeological and other evidences.
Journal for African Culture and Society
Matatu is a peer-reviewed journal on African literatures and societies dedicated to interdisciplinary dialogue between literary and cultural studies, historiography, the social sciences and cultural anthropology.
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 "Asian") 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.

Matatu was published as book series until the end of 2015. All back volumes are still available in print.


Articles for publication in MATATU should be sent to Christa Stevens at c.stevens [a t] brill.com

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In: Matatu
In: Matatu
In the African context, there exists the ‘myth’ that orality means tradition. Written and oral verbal art are often regarded as dichotomies, one excluding the other. While orature is confused with ‘tradition’, literature is ascribed to modernity. Furthermore, local languages are ignored and literature is equated with writing in foreign languages. The contributions in this volume take issue with such preconceptions and explore the multiple ways in which literary and oral forms interrelate and subvert each other, giving birth to new forms of artistic expression. They emphasize the local agency of the African poet and writer, which resists the global commodification of literature through the international bestseller lists of the cultural industry. The first section traces the movement from oral to written texts, which in many cases coincides with a switch from African to European languages. But as the essays in the section on “New Literary Languages” make clear, in other cases a true philological work is accomplished in the African language to create a new written and literary medium. Through the mixing of languages in the cities, such as the Sheng spoken in Kenya or the bilinguality of a writer such as Cheik Aliou Ndao (Senegal), new idioms for literary expressions evolve. The use of new media, technology or music stimulate the emergence of new genres, such as Taarab in East Africa, radio poetry in Yoruba and Hausa, or Rap in the Senegal, as is shown in the section on “Forms of New Orality.”
It is a great achievement of this second volume of Versions and Subversions in African Literatures that it assembles contributions by scholars from the anglophone and the francophone world and that it covers literary production in a broad spectrum of languages: English, French, Hausa, Sheng, Sotho, Spanish, Swahili, Wolof and Yoruba.
Some of the authors and cultural practitioners treated in detail are: Mobolaij Adenubi, Birago Diop, Boubacar Boris Diop, David Maillu, Thomas Mofolo, Cheik Aliou Ndao, Donato Ndongo–Bidyogo, Hubert Ogunde, Shaaban Robert, Wole Soyinka, Ibrahim YaroYahaya, and Sénouvo Agbota Zinsou.