Jeremy Prestholdt (U. California, San Diego) on East African commodities, culture, and “transnational imagination,” featuring his forthcoming book, Icons of Dissent (on Che, Marley, Tupac, Bin Laden). He also discusses changing meanings of Indian Ocean Africa and how technologies impact global circulation of ideas, people and commodities. With guest host, Laura Fair.
John Mugane (Harvard University) on his book, The Story of Swahili, a history of the international language and its speakers. Mugane sheds light on enduring questions: Who is Swahili? What is authentic Swahili? He also discusses the state of publishing in Swahili, and the challenges and approaches to teaching African languages in the U.S.
Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies Association.
Abdilatif Abdalla is the best-known Swahili poet and independent Kenya’s first political prisoner. He discusses poetry as a political instrument and as an academic field; publication prospects for African poets; and how poetry enabled him to survive three years of solitary confinement, after which he spent 22 years in exile. The interview ends with Abdalla reciting his poem “Siwati” (“I Will Never Abandon My Convictions”).
With guest host Ann Biersteker.
Mwalimu Deo Ngonyani (MSU Linguistics) on his research on Kikisi — a Bantu language spoken by 10,000 people on the shores of Lake Malawi in southwestern Tanzania. Ngonyani elaborates on projects committed to preserving ‘small’ languages and highlights the significance of government language policies, especially in regards to English and Swahili.