Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics by Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse

By Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse

Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics ­celebrates the paintings of Abdilatif Abdalla, certainly one of Kenya's such a lot recognized poets and a devoted political activist. It contains observation essays on elements of Abdilatif Abdalla's paintings and existence, via inter-weaving views on poetry and politics, language and background; with contributions via East African writers and students of Swahili literature, together with Ngugi wa Thiong'o, acknowledged Khamis, Ken Walibora, Ahmed Rajab, Mohamed Bakari, and Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, between others. Abdalla grew to become well-known in 1973, with the e-book of Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), a set of poems written secretly in legal in the course of 3 years of solitary confinement (1969-72). He was once convicted of circulating pamphlets opposed to Jomo Kenyatta's KANU executive, criticizing it as 'dictatorial' and calling for political resistance within the pamphlet, 'Kenya: Twendapi?' (Kenya: the place are we heading?). His poetry epitomizes the continuing forex of vintage Swahili shape and language, whereas his paintings total, together with translations and editorships, exemplifies a two-way mediation among 'traditional' and 'modern' views. It makes outdated and new voices of Swahili poetry and African literature obtainable to a much broader readership in East Africa, and past. Abdalla has lived in exile because 1973, in Tanzania, London, and hence, earlier, in Germany. however, Swahili literature and Kenyan politics have remained relevant to his lifestyles.

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To teach this to students is sometimes difficult for they want answers, they are not always interested in finding a salve for souls through the music of words placed side each other or the tenor of the sounds that emanate from the sound system in the lecture hall... The poem Nakukumbuka (11) “I Remember You”, is a good example of power of music in Abdalla’s poetry crafted by a repetition of the line segment Mi nawe mbali tungawa and variation of rhyme schemes at the mid- and end points of rhythmic waves: Nakukumbuka Mi nawe mbali tungawa, nakukumbuka Lau ngekuwa na mbawa, ningaliruka Ni muhali hili kuwa, nasikitika Mi nawe mbali tungawa, muhibu wangu Kamwe hayatapunguwa, mapenzi yangu Hili kaa ukijuwa, wewe u wangu 40 Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics I Do Remember You Though you and I are far apart, I do remember you If I were to grow wings, I would (surely) fly to you But that is not possible, I am afraid to say Though you my darling and I are far apart Never will my love to you diminish Rest assured that you’ll always be mine In Kuno Kunena (23) the poet uses the agglutinative nature of Swahili wordformation to create different kinds of musical patterning: Kuno Kunena Kuno kunena kwa nini, kukanikomea kuno?

Abdalla points to a remarkable popularity of literary works when their message is mediated not in print, but in a vivid format that can be more easily accessed, processed and understood. The narrative qualities of performances employing visual, oral and mimetic elements are flagged up, as we encounter them in film, theatre-play, and oral literature. These, he says, are recommendable ways for African writers to engage with and take on, so that their messages may reach a wider audience more naturally and easily.

Ohio/Athens: Ohio University Research in International Studies. Ngaboh-Smart, Francis. 1997-98. Science and Representation of African Identity in Major Gentl and the Achimota Wars. Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 7, 1: 58-79. West, Cornel & Ritz, David. 2009. Living and Loving. Carlsbad: Smiley Books. Mohamed Bakari 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?

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