Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics
Publication Year: 2016
Published by: African Books Collective
Title Page, Copyright
Preface and Acknowledgements
This volume of essays presents praise and exploration of the works and the
person of Abdilatif Abdalla, poet and activist – and colleague, teacher and
friend to many of us.
It was not difficult to select a title for us. Poet in Politics is especially appropriate as it encapsulates, in a succinct and concise form, what Abdilatif Abdalla stands for, as a writer and political activist, as verbal artist and a master...
Section 1. Poet in Politics
‘Deep Language’ Crossing Borders
Rose Marie Beck
Abdilatif Abdalla approached pension age at the end of April 2011, after 15 years of employment as a lecturer for Swahili at the Institue of African Studies, University of Leipzig. This was half a year after my appointment to the chair of African Languages and Literatures at the institute. Very soon it became clear to me that we should create an occasion to pay homage to this outstanding...
Abdilatif Abdalla and the Voice of Prophecy
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Though Abdilatif and I come from two different regions of Kenya, he from the Coast and I the Highlands, and we are of different ages, he born in 1946 and I, in 1938, our two lives are interwoven with the post-colonial history of Kenya and have crossed at key moments of that history. I published my first novel, “Weep Not Child”, in 1964 at the age of 26; he published his first...
Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet and Activist, Voice of the Discontented, Voice of Humanity
Shaaban Robert’s statement, that truth will ultimately prevail, if not today then tomorrow, can be read as a commitment to hope, and confidence, that forces of the good will in the end succeed, even against the odds and the adverse powers that may dominate ‘today’ (leo). This statement is quoted by Abdilatif Abdalla at the very end of his lecture on the obligations of the writer in society, given...
Whither Swahili Literature? Translation and the World Recognition of Abdilatif Abdalla’s Sauti ya Dhiki
Said Ahmed Khamis
In a general implicit sense, the above title informs what Casanova (2004:175-204) calls: small literatures. By small literatures we mean literatures which are hardly recognised in a global scene, or literature(s) whose heritages are betrayed, their differences denied and their values always alleged to be derived from the great literary traditions as if the so-called great literatures are completely...
The Poetics of Abdilatif Abdalla’s Agony
Abdilatif Abdalla was charged with sedition in 1968 after publishing and distributing an article in Swahili entitled Kenya: Twendapi? (Where is Kenya Headed?). The trial and the subsequent three-year sentence made Abdilatif the first political prisoner in post-independence Kenya. Bwana Mataka, the nineteenth century local ruler of the town of Siyu in the Lamu archipelago, is...
Doing Things with Words in Prison Poetry
Ken Walibora Waliaula
In March 1969 Kenyan Swahili poet and political activist Abdilatif Abdalla appeared before a Mombasa court on sedition charges. The magistrate found him guilty and sentenced him to eighteen months in prison for the offence. But the attorney general Charles Njonjo successfully appealed against the sentence, claiming the magistrate had been too lenient. Abdalla’s sentence...
The Urgency of Memory in an Age of Greed
A word of warning: those expecting an exposition of some aspect of the work of Michel Foucault would be disappointed although one can without difficulty find a linkage between some of Abdilatif Abdalla’s poetry and Foucault’s ‘archeology of knowledge’ or, arguably, his concept of épistèmes. But I will not embark on such an exercise because we are here to celebrate, and celebrations...
Section 2. Selected Works of Abdilatif Abdalla
Wajibu wa Mshairi Katika Jamii Yake
Hakuna Fasihi hata moja ulimwenguni ambayo imechimbuka na kuendelea
kuishi katika ombwe tupu. Fasihi yoyote iwayo itakuwa imeupata uhai wake,
miongozo yake, na hata maudhui yake, kutokana na hali ya kitamaduni, ya
kisiasa na ya kiuchumi ya jamii hiyo iliyochimbukana nayo.
Uhusiano huu wa Fasihi na hizi tanzu nyengine za maisha ni uhusiano...
Matatizo ya Mwandishi wa Jamii Katika Afrika Huru
Katika mwezi wa Februari, 1967, huko Stockholm, Sweden, kulikuwa na mkutano wa waandishi wa Afrika na wa Skandinavia. Baadhi ya waandishi wa Afrika waliohudhuria mkutano huo walikuwa ni Kofi Awoonor-Williams, Dennis Brutus, Eldred Jones, Alex La Guma, Ezekiel Mphahlele, John Nagenda, Wole Soyinka, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, na...
The Right and Might of a Pen
Four days ago, the Mombasa High Court increased my sentence to three years’ imprisonment after the Attorney General appealed against the earlier sentence of 18 months as inadequate. Today, I’m transferred from Shimo la Tewa Prison, Mombasa, to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, near Nairobi. I arrive in Kamiti at 7pm. What a dark night this is! Very heavy rain, lightning...
Section 3. Contexts
Hope and Despair in Kenyan Politics During and After Independence
Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir
The subject given to me is political: Hope and Despair in Kenyan Politics
During and After Independence. This is a very political and sensitive subject. I
will try as much as I can to see that I do justice to it.
To appreciate this, we have to go back in history. Was there Kenya before the coming of Europeans? Yes, there was; but not as it is demarcated...
Existentialism and Swahili Literature
Since Euphrase Kezilahabi introduced existentialism into Swahili literature in his two novels, Kichwamaji (Hydrocephalus, 197446) and Dunia Uwanja wa Fujo (The World is an Arena of Chaos, 1975), there has been a tendency in literary criticism to apply the label of ‘existentialism’ to every Swahili novel which shows an inclination towards philosophy. Also the two latest prose...
Language in Africa Between the Local and the Global: How Political are ‘Dialects’?
H. Ekkehard Wolff
In order to address the special occasion of this symposium, I would like to begin by paying homage to the man who is honoured by it: Abdilatif Abdalla. For almost the whole 15 years that I was privileged to hold the Chair of African Languages & Literatures at this university, he was on our team as an outstanding colleague, both in personal and professional terms. Abdilatif Abdalla was an ever...
Section 4. Congratulatory Texts
Dear Abdilatif, dear friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
At the beginning, let me say a few words in English. Originally, the organisers and me had in mind to deliver this laudatio in English. However, going through my memory, trying to put my thoughts together, I realized that nothing is more appropriate than using Swahili for my small contribution, which has been our (common) language of communication since Abdilatif and me met at...
Othman Miraji Othman
Mei tano hadi sita 2011 katika Chuo Kikuu cha Leipzig, Ujerumani, kulifanywa kongamano, na kauli mbiu ilikuwa: “Lugha ya Ndani Katika Kuivuka Mipaka: Ugunduzi wa Matumizi ya Utamaduni Kama Rasilimali ya Harakati za Kisiasa na za Upinzani Ndani ya Bara la Afrika na Kwengineko.” Kongamano hilo, wakishiriki wasomi kutoka Ujerumani na nje, lilikuwa na madhumuni ya...
Kumkumbuka Bwana Abdilatif Abdalla –Mwalimu Wetu
Wanafunzi wa Chuo Kikuu cha Leipzig
List of Contributors
Page Count: 154
Publication Year: 2016
OCLC Number: 946704363
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics