Swahili

Items in the Swahili Collection

Use of Arabic script in early Swahili literature
Swahili poetry prior to the twentieth century was written in ajami script that was adapted from Arabic. Many examples of this script have been preserved in manuscript form, as illustrated by the reproduction of the poem shown left, Utumbuizo wa…

Mashairi ya Mambo Leo: Swahili = Poems from the Swahili newspaper “Mambo Leo”
Newspapers served as an important literary forum for the publication of both Swahili poetry and works of prose. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the Swahili newspaper, "Mambo Leo" [Current Affairs], served this purpose for many aspiring young…

Nyimbo za Liyongo / zimekusanywa na kuhaririwa na Jopo la Utafitl kuhusu Liyongo = Liyongo songs: poems attributed to Fumo Liyongo
The earliest Swahili poet of note whose works have survived to the present day is Fumo Liyongo. Dating his life and work, and hence dating the emergence of the Swahili language itself from its Arabic origins, have been a matter of considerable…

Utenzi wa vita vya uhuru, 1939 hata 1945 [Poem of the war of freedom, 1939 to 1945]
Utenzi wa vita vya uhuru, composed by the noted and prolific Tanzanian author, Shaaban Robert, is possibly the longest utenzi poem ever written. In 3,000 stanzas, Robert recounts the events of World War II from the German invasion of Czechoslovakia…

Utendi wa kutawafu Nabii. English and Swahili  A poem concerning the death of the prophet Muhammad = Utendi wa kutawafu 	Nabii : a traditional Swahili epic, with transliteration, 	translation, and notes on the reading of Swahili manuscripts in Arabic script for advanced students
Utendi wa kutawafu Nabii, a characteristic example of the utenzi tradition in its early expression, commemorates the life of the prophet and includes his final message to the faithful before being visited by the angel of death. The poem exemplifies…

Tendi: six examples of a Swahili classical verse form with translations & notes
Utendi wa Mwana Kupona [Mwana Kupona’s Poem] is one of the most popular poems in Kiswahili literature. It was written around 1858 by Mwana Kupona binti Mshamu (c. 1810-1860) for her daughter, Mwana Hashima binti Sheikh (1841-1933). Didactic in…

Tendi : six examples of a Swahili classical verse form with translations & notes
Pg 59 - English Translation

Utendi wa Mwana Kupona [Mwana Kupona’s Poem] is one of the most popular poems in Kiswahili literature. It was written around 1858 by Mwana Kupona binti Mshamu (c. 1810-1860) for her daughter, Mwana Hashima binti…

Kwenye ukingo wa thim [At the edge of No Man’s Land]
A play based on the ‘Otieno case’ that took place in western Kenya in 1987. The case, involving the death of a well-known Luo lawyer, divided Kenya public opinion at the time and led to ethnic conflict. The controversy in the case ensued between…

Aliyeonja pepo [He who has tasted heaven]
This play confronts the theme of the place of religion in the modern world. The playwright presents the view that religion has lost its role in contemporary society, having been replaced by science and politics.

Call Number: PL8704.T6 A65 1973

Kijiji chetu [Our village]
A socio-politically committed play that criticizes some of the shortcomings of the ujamaa village scheme, particularly the dishonesty of the leaders and laziness of some of the villagers.

Call Number: PZ90.S94 N45