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Habari ya English? What about Kiswahili?

East Africa as a Literary and Linguistic Contact Zone

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Edited by 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

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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.

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Edited by Alain Ricard and Flora Veit-Wild

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.

An Azanian Trio

Three East African Arabic Historical Documents

Edited by James McL. Ritchie and Sigvard von Sicard

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.

'Stringing Coral Beads': The Religious Poetry of Brava (c. 1890-1975)

A Source Publication of Chimiini Texts and English Translations

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Edited by Alessandra Vianello, Lidwien Kapteijns and Mohamed Kassim

This book presents fifty-one didactic and devotional Sufi poems (with English translations) composed by the ulama of Brava, on Somalia’s Benadir coast, in Chimiini, a Bantu language related to Swahili and unique to the town. Because the six ulama-poets, among whom two women, guided local believers towards correct beliefs and behaviours in reference to specific authoritative religious texts, the poems allow insight into their authors’ religious education, affiliations, in which the Qādiriyyah and Aḥmadiyyah took pride of place, and regional connections. Because the poems refer to local people, places, events, and livelihoods, they also bring into view the uniquely local dimension of Islam in this small East African port city in this time-period.

Matatu

Journal for African Culture and Society

Matatu is a 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 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.
Matatu will be published as journal as of 2016. All back volumes are still available in print.

Matatu

Journal for African Culture and Society

Edited by Gordon Collier, Geoffrey V. Davis, Aderemi Raji-Oyelade and Frank Schulze-Engler

Matatu is a 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 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.
Matatu will be published as journal as of 2016. All back volumes are still available in print.

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Bernth Lindfors

Some of the essays in this book - notably those concerned with examining Western influences on sub-Saharan African writings (tracing Shakespearean and Brechtian echoes in Nigerian drama, for instance, or following the footprints of Sherlock Holmes in Swahili detective fiction) - fit the traditional definition of comparative literature. These are essays that cross national literary boundaries and sometimes transcend language barriers as well. They look for correspondences in related literary phenomena from widely dispersed areas of the globe, bringing together what is akin from what is akimbo. But most of the essays included here involve closer comparisons. Two focus on works produced in different languages within the same African nation (Yoruba and English in Nigeria, Afrikaans and English in South Africa), and one presents a taxonomy of dominant literary forms in English in three East African nations. Others concentrate on the oeuvre of a single author, and on the likely future output of exiled writers who soon will be returning home. One essay contrasts discursive tendencies within the same text, and another investigates conflicting African and Western religious beliefs. A great variety of comparative methodologies is deployed here; not all of these are transnational, multilingual or pluralistic in scope. The last two groups of essays deal with matters of characterization and authorial reputation. Studies of the depiction of African Americans, politicians and women in a wide range of African literary texts are followed by an assessment of the current standing of anglophone Africa's leading authors. In entering such highly contested terrain, the comparatist approach adopted has been that of the neutral witness to early African attempts - comparatist in their own way - to define an African canon of classic texts.
Authors discussed include: Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana); Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark, Cyprian Ekwensi, D.O. Fagunwa, Wole Soyinka and Amos Tutuola (Nigeria); Peter Abrahams, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Alex La Guma, Thomas Mofolo, Es'kia Mphahlele and Karel Schoeman (South Africa).

Matatu

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.

Need support prior to submitting your manuscript? Make the process of preparing and submitting a manuscript easier with Brill's suite of author services, an online platform that connects academics seeking support for their work with specialized experts who can help.

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

Series:

Edited by Felicity Hand and Esther Pujolràs-Noguer

Writers of Indian origin seldom appear in the South African literary landscape, although the participation of Indian South Africans in the anti-apartheid struggle was anything but insignificant. The collective experiences of violence and the plea for reconciliation that punctuate the rhythms of post-apartheid South Africa delineate a national script in which ethnic, class, and gender affiliations coalesce and patterns of connectedness between diverse communities are forged. Relations and Networks in South African Indian Writing brings the experience of South African Indians to the fore, demonstrating how their search for identity is an integral part of the national scene’s project of connectedness. By exploring how ‘Indianness’ is articulated in the South African national script through the works of contemporary South African Indian writers, such as Aziz Hassim, Ahmed Essop, Farida Karodia, Achmat Dangor, Shamim Sarif, Ronnie Govender, Rubendra Govender, Neelan Govender, Tholsi Mudly, Ashwin Singh, and Imraan Coovadia, along with the prison memoirists Dr Goonam and Fatima Meer, the book offers a theoretical model of South–South subjectivities that is deeply rooted in the Indian Ocean world and its cosmopolitanisms. Relations and Networks demonstrates convincingly the permeability of identity that is the marker of the Indian Ocean space, a space defined by ‘relations and networks’ established within and beyond ethnic, class, and gender categories.


CONTRIBUTORS
Isabel Alonso–Breto, M.J. Daymond, Felicity Hand, Salvador Faura, Farhad Khoyratty, Esther Pujolràs–Noguer, J. Coplen Rose, Modhumita Roy, Lindy Stiebel, Juan Miguel Zarandona