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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The other side of history: grassroots literacy and autobiography in Shaba, Congo
Author:Blommaert, JanISNI
Year:1999
Periodical:Kiswahili
Volume:62
Pages:11-29
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Central Africa
Subjects:literacy
autobiography
History, Archaeology
history
Katanga (Congo)
Abstract:One type of literacy which appears to be widespread in Africa is grassroots literacy: ways of writing characterized by a problematic handling of different types of writing conventions, ranging from difficulties with the material organization of graphic signs on a given space, problems with consistency in orthography and spelling, grammatical difficulties often stemming from the absence of a hegemonic standardized variety of language and problems with generic conventions for writing specific sorts of texts. This paper discusses some features of grassroots writing in Shaba, Congo (Zaire). In particular, it focuses on grassroots writing as a medium for narrating history and for constructing historical voice. The paper is based on three handwritten texts (autobiographies) in Shaba Swahili and French, written by an ex-houseboy from Shaba and sent in the 1990s to his former employer now living in Belgium. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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