By Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse
Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics celebrates the paintings of Abdilatif Abdalla, one in all Kenya's so much famous poets and a dedicated political activist. It comprises remark essays on elements of Abdilatif Abdalla's paintings and lifestyles, via inter-weaving views on poetry and politics, language and heritage; with contributions by way of East African writers and students of Swahili literature, together with Ngugi wa Thiong'o, stated Khamis, Ken Walibora, Ahmed Rajab, Mohamed Bakari, and Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, between others. Abdalla turned recognized in 1973, with the ebook of Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), a set of poems written secretly in felony in the course of 3 years of solitary confinement (1969-72). He was once convicted of circulating pamphlets opposed to Jomo Kenyatta's KANU govt, criticizing it as 'dictatorial' and calling for political resistance within the pamphlet, 'Kenya: Twendapi?' (Kenya: the place are we heading?). His poetry epitomizes the continued forex of vintage Swahili shape and language, whereas his paintings total, together with translations and editorships, exemplifies a two-way mediation among 'traditional' and 'modern' views. It makes outdated and new voices of Swahili poetry and African literature available to a much wider readership in East Africa, and past. Abdalla has lived in exile because 1973, in Tanzania, London, and for this reason, previously, in Germany. however, Swahili literature and Kenyan politics have remained principal to his lifestyles.
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Extra resources for Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics
His reflections here are insightful and inspiring. They seem, on the one hand, to be building on the experiences that Abdalla himself had previously undergone in Kenya (as imprisoned pamphlet writer, as poet). On the other hand, they reflect critically on the political contexts of Tanzania’s ujamaa politics under Julius Nyerere at the time. Over the course of both lectures, Abdalla carves out a vision of ‘a writer/ poet of society’ (mwandishi/mshairi wa jamii) and discusses pressures and expectations that these verbal artists ‘of the people’ face and need to address.
A protégé of Maalim Ghazali, who was himself a student of Sheikh Al-Amin Mazrui, Sheikh Abdilahi, as he is affectionaly referred to by his admirers, was a man steeped in the Islamic intellectual tradition and aware of what was happening around him. Looking around, he was persuaded that he could be a better representative of coastal aspirations than many of those who thought that they could defend those interests. He threw himself into the fray and this inevitably alienated some of those who followed his public lectures earnestly because they felt that a person perceived as a Muslim scholar had no business throwing his lot into the murky business of politics.
1991. The World Republic of Letters. Cambridge/Massachusetts/ London: Harvard University Press. Damrosch, David. 2003. What is World Literature? Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press. Gérard, Albert S. 1976. Structure and Values in Three Swahili Epics. Research in African Literatures 7, 1: 7-22. M. 2015. ‘Nguvu’ versus ‘Power’: Resilience of Swahili Language as Shown in Literature and Translation in Lutz Diegner and Frank Schulze -Engler (eds), Habari ya English? - What about Kiswahili? East Africa as a Literary and Linguistic Contact Zone.