Shaaban Robert

Shaaban Robert (1909-1962):  Greatest Swahili Author

Shaaban Robert, Tanzanian poet, novelist, essayist, and biographer/autobiographer, continues to be recognized as the greatest writer of the Swahili language.  He promoted the development and popularization of the language, most principally through the writing of more than twenty works of multiple literary genres that were widely read at that time and in the half-century since his passing.  Aside from their purely literary value in the development of written Swahili literature, his works provided an important link between the origins of the language among the coastal ethnic Swahili and its acceptance and usage in the broader East African cultural milieu.  According to one of his critics, “he is considered the greatest poet and most extensive thinker that Swahili literature has produced.”  (Mulokozi 1975, as cited in Zúbková, 2009: 42) 

The University of Kansas libraries includes a nearly complete collection of his published works.

Click on images below for full individual descriptions.