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They could now confidently travel to ports all across the Indian Ocean, including those on the eastern coast of Africa. From this interaction with Indian Ocean traders, eastern coastal villages rose to become prosperous, rich cities. Furthermore, there were now kings that ruled over these areas, as well as merchants who were among the elites of society.

Clearly, trade spurred political and social development. However, these cities did not unite, and instead remained independent. Gold Ingots What did traders want from the eastern coast of Africa? Well, those on the coast traded with people in the interior of the continent to bring Indian Ocean traders gold, ivory, quartz, and iron, just to name a few things.

These merchants also took enslaved peoples to be bought and sold from an already-existing interior slave trade.

In exchange, Swahili cities received both material goods and cultural elements. Materially, merchants from the Indian Ocean exchanged porcelain and silk from China, and even cotton from the Indian subcontinent. Sometimes these merchants even decided to stay in eastern Africa, which contributed to a cultural mix of different peoples from India and the Middle East. Perhaps the biggest thing they received wasn't something tangible, though.

The most important ''commodity'' was arguably religious, with the adoption of Islam.

Beginning in the fifteenth-century, trade began to change as Portuguese mariners traveled to Africa. These were the beginnings of the age of European exploration. As the centuries unfolded, Europeans came to hold much power in the continent. As a result, the rich cultures and histories of different African peoples, including the Swahili, was overtaken by European colonizers. Language and Islam So, then, what united these peoples and places?

Residents of an individual household might include many people beyond the immediate family, such as grandparents, nieces and nephews, and in-laws. However, apart from linguists interested in Africa, and general linguists interested in the comparative study of languages, not too many people actually know the origin and structure of the language we call Kiswahili or Swahili today, its extensive literature,and its Pan-African identity.

Many people still believe, like the sailors of the 15th to the 19th centuries, that Kiswahili is a kind of mixture of Arabic and African languages.

In short, Kiswahili is a kind of pidgin or creole which was born out of trade and intermarriages along the Indian Ocean coast of Africa. This view is, however, far from the linguistic and historical discoveries of today.

In fact, exactly one hundred and fifty years ago today, Dr. Ludwig Krapf completed the writing of the first ever Kiswahili grammar book in Mombasa. The year was It took another five years before the book was finally published in Europe. In remembering this important event, we need to re-educate ourselves about the language Kiswahili.

In order to do so, we shall concern ourselves with the following themes: The origins of Kiswahili and its speakers; 2. Some salient features of Kiswahili as a Bantu language; 3. The literature of Kiswahili; 4. How Kiswahili got its name, and 5. The spread and use of Kiswahili.

To the north, we had and still have the caucasoid group who are now called Afroasians. Next to the Afroasians, we had and still have the Negro group or Black people. In the forest, lived the Pygmies, and in the eastern and southern savannas of East and Southern Africa, the Bushmen roamed freely.

The last two, historically, have either a pale or a yellowish skin texture, according to Oliver and Fage But today, both they and the negro qualify as black people. Comparative linguistic studies have also shown that the languages spoken by all the negro peoples are related and that someyears ago they probably spoke one language.

The common language began to change as the people discovered agriculture and started moving in groups further and further from each other to found new settlements and farms. Kenya,Lamu Island of Swahilis The homeland of the early negro people, it is claimed, was probably located around the bend of the Niger c.

But, we think that the homeland was, most likely, spread between the bend of the Niger and the lake Chad basin, where fishing was carried on along the river lines.

If our claim is right, then, in our opinion, there is no doubt that an intrusion of a successive wave of Afroasians through the middle of negro heartland was finally responsible for the definitive division of the negro people into two distinct groups, which then developed apart as two distinct linguistic types, the Nilo-Saharan and the Niger-Congo.

The second group, called Niger-Congo, could also only expand westwards and south-eastwards. For this reason the group became split up into two groups, the Western group and the Southern group. They appear to have maintained contacts with each other, albeit only in times of great necessity, and so the two groups developed virtually independently of each other.

The Southern group of Niger-Congo moved into the forest and stayed between Mount Cameroon and the tributaries of the Congo, Logone, Chari, and Sangha rivers from where they moved to the region of Lake Mweru c. Within the comparative safety of the forest, this Southern group developed a different form of the Niger-Congo language, and this is called Bantu today.

The Bantu people of today, therefore, emerged from the very heart of Africa into open savanna country further south. The people then moved to the east, the west, and south of Africa in gradual waves, till they were many enough to displace the Pygmies and Bushmen except in dense forests and in dry savanna and desert areas of Southern Africa. Swahili people gathered in their living room,Lamu,Kenya Later on, they also displaced some Afroasians of Eastern Africa.

The Waswahili are probably one of the better known members of this group. There is no doubt, in our mind, that the name Unguja is the modern derivation of Shungwaya. The Bantu original tribe of the Waswahili must have been simply the Shungwaya ya magunyani or Tikuu Lit.

This is the surprise which many a learner does not expect or suspect. The Waswahili are, therefore, historically, a Bantu people by origin and language. They now live along the coast and on the off-shore islands of Eastern Africa.

Swahili women, Zanzibar If you go to the East African coast and meet Waswahilis of varying shades and colour, it is due to centuries of contact and intermarriages with people from all over the globe.

But, you will notice that the language they speak is understood by other Africans on the mainland, especially the hinterland, who have very little mixed features and mixed cultures, even if they have just met a Mswahili for the first time; while no person from the Orient or Europe or even other parts of Africa further removed understands, on his first arrival, what both the Waswahili and their mainland hinterland cousins are saying to them without the help of an interpreter.

Africans in the immediate hinterland understand the Waswahili because both groups are using forms of the same language, while the Orientals, Europeans, and others do not understand them because they are using different languages. Linguistic scholars like DelafosseBaumann, Westermann and ThurnwaldGreenbergand Guthrie ; employed a technique called lexicostatistics or glottochronology which was used in Europe to show that most European languages originated from the same parent Indo-European language as the ancient and sacred language called Sanskrit used in India.

The theory says that because language is important to the survival of man, people will always take with them words of their languages which will preserve their identity and culture whenever they are moving from place to place c. This means that words which directly affect a person's very survival such as those which refer to things like numbers, words referring to the body or parts of it, those which refer to trades such as fishing, iron working, architecture, and so on, do not get lost easily.

Swahili man following his donkeys that carry loads Guthriefor example, in his study of Bantu languages found surprisingly that the highest percentage of proto-Bantu word roots old words in core sample Bantu languages could be found in Chi-Bemba spoken in Zambia. These roots are still present in these languages.

These words are still in use in the language. Ancient Swahili structure of Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania Other researchers have also been studying these languages from other perspectives, such as their common classificatory systems called classes, identical 'euphonical' concords, common sound laws, similar verbal and nominal derivational processes, and common constituent typology as S VO languages.

Thus, one thing is clear to all the scholars: So, if we take modern Zaire-Zambia as the homeland of the Bantu people, then the Waswahili were one of the earliest people to migrate to the coast before the proto form changed significantly. This would also explain the high percentage of old roots in the language.

This would, most likely, not be the case if the language were a mixture of Oriental, European, and unrelated African languages. Oral literature, therefore, predates the written literature.

For a long time, the oral literature was dismissed as not constituting literature in the classical sense of literature in Europe. Apart from a wealth of oral literature, Kiswahili has an impressive four centuries of written literary traditions. However, the evidence of this written literature dates only as far as the 17th century. The oldest surviving manuscript has been dated to and is called the Hamziya, according to Knappert It is a religious work.

Nchi 7 Ambazo Hutumia KISWAHILI Kama Lugha ya Mawasiliano

Cute Swahili girl The truth is that the original written manuscript of the Epic of Liyongo Utenzi wa Liyongo which is older than the Hamziya cannot be traced. It seems evident that the original source of the written version was the oral literature of the Waswahili of the Tana River basin to the off-shore islands off the present Kenya-Somali coast. Most of the written versions which have survived are 19th and 20th century manuscripts of the epic.

Nearly all the early written literature of the Waswahili was in poetry. Poetry was written in different verse forms. There are over eleven verse forms in Kiswahili today c. Knappert ; Amidu; Lodhi Until the last years of the 19th century, the Waswahili discouraged prose writings as forms of serious literature. In fact, it is only in the 20th century that prose and drama have become very popular. Swahili girls, Mozambique Prose and drama were considered by the coastal Waswahili to be uncouth or commonplace 'performance literatures' and as such were not considered as 'true' literature.

Today, however, we have all kinds of literature in Kiswahili and on any topic.

Swahili Culture & Commerce in East Africa During the Middle Ages | cypenv.info

But poetry is still the yardstick by which people ultimately judge the quality of a writer as a true artist c. It is for this reason that Julius Nyerere wrote his literature in verse and not prose. It is also for this reason that letters to Kiswahili newspaper editors, and magazines are written in poetry and not prose to this day c.

Kiswahili songs are typically written in the classical or traditional verse forms, but since independence, written free verse songs have become more the norm, especially on the mainland. A tentative chronology of Kiswahili literature is as follows: Oral Literature From about B. Free Verse Songs used in Dances 3. Aphorisms and Proverbs 4. Chuo cha Tambuka, Al-inkishafi, Mwanakupona, Majimaji, etc.

The Kiswahili written literary tradition began on Pate Island in Kenya in the 17th and 18th centuries. Later, the centre moved to Mombasa in the mid to the early parts of the 19th century. From aboutthe centre shifted to Lamu, also in Kenya, and it stayed there until the arrival of European scholarship. The arrival of Europeans appears to have inspired the south to use prose to compete with the north. Even, the appointee to the post of supreme court judge Kadhi of Islam under the sultanate of Seyyid Said and his successor Seyyid Majyid came from the north, and continued in that tradition at least until the closing years of the 19th century and the early 20th century.

For example, one of the innovations started in Lamu off the Kenya coast in and documented by us is the use of poetry as a tool for political campaigns, elections, and satire. Amidufor details about this verse. But, we draw attention also to the fact that on Pemba island, between Mombasa in the north and Zanzibar in the south, a tradition of classical literature has taken root, especially form the end of the 19th century. However, in general, both Kenya and Tanzania produce many works each year especially in prose and on all aspects of life.

Love songs are especially popular. The preferred dialect used in modern times is Standard Kiswahili Kiswahili Sanifu based on the dialect of Zanzibar town which is called Kiunguja. The increase in the number of speakers has given rises to Standard Kiswahili usages which are specifically not part of the native speakers' repertoire.

Girl in Kilwa Kivinje, Tanzania For example, compare the use of the Vi- class, as in 22 below, to collectivize objects of different classes, where the native speaker would normally use Ma-1 class i. Detailed studies need to be conducted into language use and variation since the 'Nationalization' of Kiswahili in Kiswahili is now a language of all the peoples in East and Central Africa, and not just of muslims on the coast or of north versus south.

The prefix KI- actually means 'language, customs, way of life' of the people called Waswahili. The word 'swahili' was a 'nickname' given to the East African coast by visitors form Arabia, especially from the 10th century A.

The Arabic word is 'sahil' which means 'coast' but the Arabs used the plural form 'sawahil', and it is from this form that we have the word 'swahili' in current usage. Today, there is a tendency to use the term Mswahili to describe any East African who speaks Kiswahili. The surface culture of the native Waswahili is islamic, but their underlying culture is Bantu c.

The town's history is marked by a Portuguese invasion then the Omani domination, like in Zanzibar. The streets of Lamu are very narrow, so there are no cars, only donkeys to carry everything! The term'bar' means 'land'. This distinction was important because Ethiopians, Somali and other cushitic groups who are Afroasians like the Arabs lived and still live in the horn of Africa to this day.

From there they came to Mombasa and Malindi on the modern Kenya coast looking for the sea route to India. Between andthe Portuguese moved up and seized all the Kiswahili lands and islands and kept the East African gold, ivory, and slave trade in their own hands, and then blocked the route to India to everyone except themselves.

Little did they know what was to follow. The Omanis came and drove out the Portuguese. This was resented by the Waswahili of all walks of life, but there was nothing they could do. Inwhen the ruling sultan, Seyyid Said, realized that the Waswahili, and even Arab merchants, were not obeying him and were not prepared to share their wealth from the lucrative trade with India and Arabia with him, he moved his headquarters from Oman to Zanzibar, where the people were more friendly.

Mombasa was very hostile to foreign domination. After this, all trade was in Arab and Indian hands and the East coast became an Arab colony, and trade emporium of international proportions for the first time.

The sultan brought many Indian merchants from Indian to trade in East Africa, especially in the interior. The sultanate lost control of the hinterland to the Europeans, but the dynasty in Zanzibar did not end until when it was overthrown in a revolution. The Europeans, who robbed the sultan of his control of the interior trade in East Africa, imposed colonial rule on their East African dominions. The people were forced to learn Europeans languages like German up toEnglish, and French.

The situation has not changed since independence. Mikindani Swahili kids playing, Tanzania. So, even to this day, the people speak their Bantu language Kiswahili, but only a few can speak Arabic c. Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Indian, and Chinese traders.

Later, it moved from the coast back into the interior again. How did this happen? Under the influence of Arabs, Persians, Indians, Europeans and Americans, there was a high demand for exotic goods and labour force such as ivory, slaves, animal skins and horns, live animals like cattle and sheep, African timber, gums, fragrant wood, cloves, copra, and minerals such as gold.

To get these goods, it became necessary, especially in the 19th century, to send traders into the interior or cultivate them on the coast.

Swahili Culture & Commerce in East Africa During the Middle Ages

Long caravans carried goods like silk and cotton cloths, beads, necklaces, sugar, and guns etc. At times, when the Waswahili and Arab traders could not persuade the people to sell their goods willingly, they would used force. Swahili woman, Zanzibar The traders from the coast spoke Kiswahili which was related to the languages in the interior. All the porters and assistants and slaves who helped to carry goods to and from the coast all used Kiswahili, and all the people who came to look for work with the traders on the trade routes learnt Kiswahili.