By Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse
Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics celebrates the paintings of Abdilatif Abdalla, one among Kenya's such a lot recognized poets and a devoted political activist. It comprises remark essays on elements of Abdilatif Abdalla's paintings and lifestyles, via inter-weaving views on poetry and politics, language and heritage; with contributions by means of East African writers and students of Swahili literature, together with Ngugi wa Thiong'o, stated Khamis, Ken Walibora, Ahmed Rajab, Mohamed Bakari, and Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, between others. Abdalla turned well-known in 1973, with the ebook of Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), a suite 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 continued 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 It makes outdated and new voices of Swahili poetry and African literature available to a much broader readership in East Africa, and past. Abdalla has lived in exile seeing that 1973, in Tanzania, London, and therefore, formerly, in Germany. however, Swahili literature and Kenyan politics have remained primary to his existence.
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Additional resources for Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics
Texts such as this illustrate the importance of being discontent, of being driven by discontent, and of the possibility of using it as a driving-force (or, as here, a counter-force) for building a vocal moral agenda of social improvement. This is observable in the way that Abdalla emphasizes his refusal to give into, or even negotiate with, the unacceptable, as this would happen on unacceptable grounds. This insistence on a fundamental public disapproval of the kind of unjust and inhumane state that Kenya has become during the politics of nyayo, which is also an insistence on the public recognition of what is wrong, marks the strength and forceful energy of this poem.
Private firms, local and multinational, have now taken over. These private firms are not interested in promoting East African literature(s) and cultures(s) but in making money. It is not surprising therefore to find that only a few Swahili literary works have been selected for translation in this phase, and these have been translated and produced by foreign publishers for foreign tastes. In this case it is necessary for ministries of education to plunge into the project of designing literature syllabi to include Swahili texts translated in English to promote both African language literatures and African European language literatures.
A refusal to even consider engaging in communication that would accept the platform set by these deluding terms. This indicates, again, the forcefulness of discontent and the need to speak up in the face of injustice, as already seen when looking at Kenya: Twendapi? and the poem ‘Siwati’. Also, the deep belief and conviction (imani) in the truth and rightfulness of one’s case come up again here, in the name of those many who were mistreated and thus mocked by the wordplay Kai Kresse 29 and false semantics of nyayo politics.