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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Al-Inkishafi: A Ninteenth Century Swahili Poem
Author:Mberia, K.
Periodical:International Journal of Liberal Arts and Social Science
Geographic term:Kenya
Nasir S.
Abstract:Within the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya's northern coast, creative writing has been thriving for at least three hundred years. Thanks to the coming to the region of Arab immigrants and the introduction of Arabic script, the locals cultivated a strong literacy tradition especially in poetry. One of the region's finest poetic compositions, created about two hundred years ago, is “Al-Inkishafi” which translates as “Soul's Awakening” or the “Catechism of the Soul”. This article, explores the thematic concerns of the poem and their relevance today despite the fact that two centuries have passed since the poem's composition. I also claim and demonstrate with illustrations from the poem the freshness, intensity and elegance of its language. I then highlight some controversies of the poem with regard as to whether or not the poem is complete and whether the piece is not merely a religious sermon rather than a work of art. I end the paper by stating my stand on the controversies. (Journal Abstract)