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Cultural Close-up: Swahili Poetry


||  THE SWAHILI COAST EPISODE  ||

Swifa za Mahaba (In Praise of Love)
The first line of this poem is identical with that in many epics. It refers to the ancient method of writing on a wooden tablet, with a calamus, a reed pen. (Continue...)

Nimechoka (I Am Tired)
The real quatrain, the epigrammatic poem of four lines, has remained a medium of expression for the poets' philosophical rather than amorous thoughts, as it is in most literary cultures where it is used. (Continue...)

Uzee (Old Age) by Shaaban
This was one of the poet's last poems if not his very last. It is more lyrical, in the sense of descriptive of his personal feelings, than most of his poems. In most of his work Shaaban was a traditional poet, the tradition being that poetry is for learning rather than for the expression of the poet's individual emotions. (Continue...)

Kiswahili (The Swahili Language) by Ahmad Bhalo
The very answer to Ahmad's many questions is implied all the time. Swahili is very much his own language; it is the language for everybody in Kenya and Tanganyika (as it then was), a second language for the majority, a first language for some. (Continue...)

||  THE SWAHILI COAST EPISODE  ||


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Swahili Poetry