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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The spread of Islam in Malawi and its impact on Yao rites of passage, 1870-1960
Author:Msiska, Augustine W.C.ISNI
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Malawi
Central Africa
History, Archaeology
Rites and ceremonies
Yao (African people)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/29778728
Abstract:It was in the 19th century that the spread of Islam to different points along Lake Malawi in the interior of eastcentral Africa became clearly evident. Among those who played an instrumental role in its spread were the Yao and the Swahili Arabs. The Yao had by then emerged as the most active participants in the ivory and slave trade between the interior of eastcentral Africa and the East coast. The Swahili Arabs became involved as allies of the Yao in the development of the caravan trade which linked the East coast to markets in the interior. The author examines the spread of Islam into Malawi from the East African coast from the 19th century onwards, and the impact it had on the culture of the people who became most affected by it, especially the Yao of southern Malawi. The specific mode of Islam's propagation is illustrated with special reference to what happened in Makanjira's area in Mangochi District and Chikowi's and Malemia's areas in Zomba. These case studies indicate that the spread of Islam in Malawi was a piecemeal process in which the chiefs and headmen were the first to be converted. The Islamic faith proved readily compatible with crucial elements of Yao culture. Thus initiation rites, such as the 'msondo' and the 'jando', were not supplanted but Islamized. Note, ref.