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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Commitment in the Swahili novel: an appraisal of the works of Said Ahmed Mohamed
Author:Mbatia, MwendaISNI
Periodical:Kiswahili (ISSN 0856-048X)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Zanzibar
Swahili literature
Mohamed, Said Ahmed, 1947-
About person:Said Ahmed Mohamed (1947-)ISNI
Abstract:It is as a novelist that Said Ahmed Mohamed has made the most substantial contribution to Swahili literature. Since 1977, when his first novel, 'Asali Chungu', appeared, he has five novels to his credit. His novels are social works in that they focus on the sociopolitical environment of modern Tanzania, particularly his native Zanzibar. Mohamed believes that a writer cannot be nonpartisan under the circumstances of African societies at the present time. His commitment, as it emerges from his works, is quite explicit, and is expressed in a number of pet themes: the exploitative and immoral nature of the bourgeoisie, his censure of Islam as a prop of the feudal-capitalist system, the betrayal of the dream of 'uhuru' (freedom), failure of the socialist experiment in Tanzania, and the need for a social revolution. The present author examines the manifestation of Said Ahmed Mohamed's commitment in his works and comments on how effectively he uses the novel form to communicate his ideas. He notes that the artistic worth of Mohamed's works is compromised by a number of formal and stylistic flaws, and that he fails to take adequate precautions against the risk of degenerating into demagoguery. In a rejoinder (p. 20-21), F.E.M.K. Senkoro comments on some of the points raised. Bibliogr. (Commentary by Kimani Njogu, Said A.M. Khamis, and Kyallo Wadi Wamitila in Kiswahili, vol. 60 (1997), p. 83-85, 87-96, 97-105.)