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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reading the Kenyan Swahili prose works: a terra incognita in Swahili literature
Author:Wamitila, Kyallo WadiISNI
Periodical:Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere: Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Swahili language
Abstract:Swahili creative writing from Kenya has been in the shadow of Tanzanian creative works for a long time. This is notwithstanding a number of commendable works, some of which belong to the very first generation of Swahili literature. In the 1980s one notices a proliferation of Swahili prose writings, most of which are simplistic low brow novellas targeting a school audience. This does not mean, however, that no mature and commendable works have been published in this period. This paper focuses on some recent Kenyan Swahili novels and investigates the following issues: the sequence of events; the narrative enigma; theme, motifs and plot; symbolism, imagery and allusive language; and the reconstruction of characters. The conclusion is that Kenyan writers have made a valuable contribution to Swahili prose writing. There is an upsurge of young, talented writers and their writing has reached a mature stage. The novels discussed include 'Mafuta' (1984) and 'Walenisi' (1995), by Katama Mkangi; 'Haki Haizami (1995), by Ali Njama; 'Nyongo mkalia Ini (1995), by Rocha Chimerah; and 'Siku Njema' (1996), by Ken Walibora. Bibliogr., notes, ref.