Reflections on the state of literature in Kiswahili in the Anamoly of African Literature Ken Walibora

Seminars & Lectures
MISR Seminar Room 1
Event end Date
Event Date
May 22, 2019
Event Time
02:15 PM to 05:15 PM Africa/Kampala

Despite the illusion of completeness that so-called African literature tends to exude in our day and age, there is still a basis for pondering what Abiola Irele in The African Experience: Literature and Ideology, (1990) characterizes as the anomaly of African literature. In Irele’s apprehension and assessment of the African condition, “[w]e cannot feel that we are in full possession of this [African] literature so long as it is elaborated in a language that does not belong to us in an immediate and original way” (45). This talk is a meditation on the journey literature in Kiswahili has taken in its quest for regional and even continental status. How has literature in Kiswahili fared in its attempt to capture or as Chinua Achebe would put it “carry the African experience?” What strides has it made? How has it evolved overtime? What prospects lie ahead? Wearing my two experiential hats as both a producer and a critic of literature in Kiswahili, I  intend to reflect on these and related questions.