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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Contribution of the Swahili Writer Shaaban Robert to the Development of East African Thought
Author:Misiugin, V.
Periodical:St. Petersburg Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:Swahili language
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
About person:Shaaban bin Robert (1909-1962)ISNI
Abstract:Shaaban Robert (1909-1962) was a modern East African Swahili writer and poet. He was a philosopher-enlightener, a Utopian socialist, and a far-sighted participant in the anticolonial movement. He was active during the last years of the British colonial regime in East Africa and the first years of the independent Republic of Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania), and his work played an enormous role in consolidating the anticolonial forces in his country. Shaaban Robert brought the ancient literary tradition of the Swahili language into the modern age. He wrote 'inshi', traditional ethical and moralistic dicta containing elements of philosophy, and his tales derived from widely known Oriental plots. However, while maintaining the traditional form, he filled it with his own, modern ideas, intended not only to entertain but also to force the reader or listener to think. A typical example is the tale 'Kusadikika' (The land of credulous people). A particular feature of Robert's language is his skill in composing nearly every phrase in such a way as to carry a double meaning. The present article was first published in Russian in 1982. Notes.