TITLE

Nguvu versus Power -- Resilience of Swahili Language as Shown in Literature and Translation

AUTHOR(S)
KHAMIS, SAID A. M.
PUB. DATE
January 2015
SOURCE
Matatu: Journal for African Culture & Society;2015, Vol. 46 Issue 1, p49
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Essay
ABSTRACT
'Power' is a key concept in the following reflections on the resilience and resistance of Swahili in the East African contact zone. While contact zones are understood here as being simultaneously productive and destructive, positive effects supervene in a process of transculturation in which members of subordinated or marginal groups select and reinvent from material transmitted by a dominant metropolitan culture and thus acquire the capacity to gain access to the dominant culture's forms of representation in order to subvert them. Thus, after a phase of direct contestation between Swahili and English, Swahili has now entered a new phase based on mutual coexistence with English, where it is making its 'soft power' felt in African English-language writing and needs to develop new strategies of translation. The essay investigates the interpolation of Swahili words, phrases, and passages in novels by Abdulrazak Gurnah, Moyez G. Vassanji, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, interpolation that serves to project nostalgia (in the context of diaspora), or to express irony, sarcasm, and political criticism. Thus, the presence of Swahili in English- language texts goes beyond a literary technique for producing 'local colour': what is at issue is the projection of 'Swahilism' - a concept denoting the sway of Swahili beyond the purely linguistic realm into the cultural and social sphere - in the literature of the East African contact zone.
ACCESSION #
112202748

 

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