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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Swahili novel as disseminator of bourgeois individualism
Author:Philipson, R.ISNI
Year:1988
Periodical:Kiswahili
Volume:55
Issue:1-2
Pages:20-35
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:East Africa
Africa
Subjects:group identity
Swahili language
novels
literature
Swahili literature
bourgeoisie
Individuals
Abstract:Using F. Jameson's description of the novel's ideological function in European society (1981), namely that the novel plays a significant role in what can be called a properly bourgeois cultural revolution (the immense process of transformation whereby populations whose life habits were formed by other, now archaic modes of production are effectively reprogrammed for life and work in the new world of marked capitalism), the author analyses a text that Swahili scholars themselves recognize as an important and representative realist novel: Mohamed S. Mohamed's 'Kiu' (1972). The analysis shows that the Swahili novel, like its anglophone and francophone counterparts, is the literary production of postcolonial, i.e. capitalist, ideology. Whatever the ujamaa rhetoric of Tanzanian society, its goals are those of Western economic development, predicated on bourgeois notions of individuals and their 'rights'. Although neither come from bourgeois backgrounds, the two protagonists of 'Kiu' have assimilated the bourgeois values of fulfilment, appropriate to their gender: the female protagonist tries to find fulfilment in romantic love, the male protagonist in wealth. Bibliogr., note, ref.
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