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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The use of the Arabic script in northern Mozambique
Author:Bonate, Liazzat J.K.ISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Tydskrif vir letterkunde
Volume:45
Issue:1
Pages:133-142
Language:English
Geographic term:Mozambique
Subjects:letters
Swahili language
writing systems
1800-1899
Link:https://doi.org/10.4314/tvl.v45i1.29825
Abstract:The Muslim population of northern Mozambique has been using the Arabic script for writing in KiSwahili and local African languages for centuries. Even today, many people continue using this script in private correspondence. Despite the abundance of documents in this script that are housed at the Mozambique Historical Archives as well as in private hands, these documents have never been researched either from linguistic, historical, cultural or religious vantage points. For the last seven years, the Archives have been trying to draw the attention of scholars and obtain funds for the preservation and research of the documents. The archives contain mainly 19th-century correspondence between local African rulers and the Portuguese military commanders in the regions of contemporary Cabo Delgado and Nampula. In this article two short letters from the collection of the Mozambique Historical Archives are transcribed and translated with the help of a local shaykh who was educated within the regional Islamic literary tradition. The content and the protagonists of the letters are identified and analysed with reference to the historical context and the events of the time. Besides serving as evidence for historical occurrences, the letters also provide a general public with a unique opportunity to hear the 'voices' of the authors in their own words. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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