CULTURE: LITERATURE. BANTU LANGUAGES
The various Bantu languages had and still have an oral literary production for whose knowledge the work Three Solid Stones (1975) by Martha Muungi is fundamental. Only Swahili has written literature, the first evidence of which dates back to the century. XVII, are in Arabic letters. Starting from the sec. XIX such literature was written in Latin letters. The oldest genres are exclusively poetic, closed in rigid forms, and intended for acting. Among these, the most important is the ‘ utenzi, used for epic celebratory subjects and, during the classical period (before the 20th century) only for religious purposes. Today, this genre tends to become narrative and to deal with news stories. Formally influenced by Persian and classical Arabic epic poetry, this production expresses a culture more oriental than African. The most notable classical writers belong to the century. XIX; they are the poets Sayh Muhyi d’Dīn (1789-1869), of Zanzibar, Hamed bin ‘Abdallah el Buhri (ca. 1850-1928), ʽAbd al-Karim bin Jamaliddini and Mzee bin ʽAlī. For prose, represented by ancient chronicles, or Habari, and from autobiographical or travel stories we point out: Amur bin Nasūr, Sulaymān bin Mwenye Chande, Sālim bin Abukari, and the famous slave trader Hamed bin Muḥammed el-Murgebi called Tippu-Tip, all of the nineteenth century. However, this literature was only fully exploited starting from the 1950s, with the affirmation of nationalistic movements and is today a living force: several ancient poems have been published, even in newspapers, arousing intense controversy among traditionalists and proponents of a detachment from too rigid formulas. According to allunitconverters, the latter include the poets KHA Akilimali “Snow-White”, K. Amri Abedi (1924-1964), Abdullah Saleh Farsy (1912-1982), ME Mnyampala (1917-1969), B. Soprassasson and ZMS Zani. The period from 1948 to 1960 is dominated by the greatest modern Swahili poet, and not only in Tanzania, Shaaban Robert (1909-1962), who enriched and updated the language, creating stylistic models, both in prose and poetry, more suited to current themes. Varied and profound author, he gave his masterpiece with Poem about the struggle for freedom (posthumously, 1967). As for the narrative, represented by the short novel (DE Diva, JP Mbonde, ME Mnyampala, DM Ndimbo, H. Nyngine, Omar CA Shariff, Omari K. Cuthbert, NL Riwa) and by the short novel, it deals with themes ranging from the description of rural life (Muḥammad Saleh Farsy) to the detective genre (Faraji HH Katalambulo, Hasani ben Ismail, Muḥammad Saʽīd Abdullah). In the theatrical field, at the end of the 1960s, the commitment to create a modern Swahili theater was born at the University of Dar es Salaam: among the most significant playwrights there are Ebrahim Hussein, Ngahyoma and Penina Muhando. The essay has its maximum exponent in Julius Nyerere, author of three capital works for the knowledge of the Tanzanian way to socialism: Freedom and unity (1967), Freedom and Socialism (1972) and Freedom and Development (1974). In the seventies, literature in the Swahili language acquires ever greater importance. Among the poets we should mention E. Hussein (b. 1943) and EM Mahimbi, and among the narrators M. Lemki, H. Mwakyembe and CK Omari. Of great importance is the development of the theater, which found its major representatives in Ebrhim N. Hussein, Faruk Topan (b.1940) and Peninah Muhando (b.1948). In the eighties there is a further development of literature with the novels of E. Kezilahabi, SA Mohamed (b. 1947) and MS Abbdulla, and with the poetry of M. Mulokozi. The theater, while mobilized for political propaganda, goes back to the African origins of Swahili poetry with Ngonjera performances.
CULTURE: LITERATURE. ENGLISH LANGUAGE
English-language literature, which timidly appeared around the 1950s as a reaction to the overly rigid forms of Swahili literature, found an incentive in newspapers and magazines, such as Darlite, linked to the University of Dar es Salaam, and Transition (published in Kampala), and anthologies which, like those of D. Cook, have made known the poets H. Temba (b.1951), YO Kassam (b.1943), M. Mnampala (1917-1969) and MN Haji, and traditional storytellers, like IK Kayembo, Tom Chacha, Ben Mkapa, Valentina Eyakuze, NG Ngulukululu. As for the novel, it contains autobiographical works (A. Kajerere, who however writes in German), a good psychological study of the conflict between generations (Dying in the Sun, 1968) by PK Palangyo, descriptions of village life (G. Ruhumbika), detective themes (F. Kawegere). The essay is well represented by Sophia Muṣṭafā, and by Semei Nyanzi. In the 1970s and 1980s, literature in English was scarce but not without value. Among the poets we should mention BR Nchimbi, WD Kamera (b.1942), also known for his Tales of the Wairaqw of Tanzania, and above all FEMK Senkoro (b. 1953) authors of a highly politicized and often propagandistic poetry. Most important are the novelists, who prefer the autobiographical genre, the historical novel and the family chronicle, and analyze psychological and social conflicts, without idealizing the past or falling into sentimentality, but revealing a certain pessimism and bitterness for disappointed hopes. Even the theater, which acquires a certain importance, becomes a critic of social life with the naturalistic dramas of Mukotani Rugyendo and Blandina Mhando. Nonfiction includes historical (MH Kaniki and Israel Katoka), political (T. Avirgan, AM Babu, P. Kagwema, L. Khamis and J. Nsekela) and literary studies (CS Mwakasaka). Among the most recent contemporary authors we can also mention Tolowa Marti Mollel (b.1952), The Orphan Boy).