By Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse
Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics celebrates the paintings of Abdilatif Abdalla, certainly one of Kenya's so much recognized poets and a devoted political activist. It comprises observation essays on facets of Abdilatif Abdalla's paintings and lifestyles, via inter-weaving views on poetry and politics, language and historical past; with contributions via East African writers and students of Swahili literature, together with Ngugi wa Thiong'o, acknowledged Khamis, Ken Walibora, Ahmed Rajab, Mohamed Bakari, and Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, between others. Abdalla grew to become recognized in 1973, with the book of Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), a set of poems written secretly in legal in the course of 3 years of solitary confinement (1969-72). He was once convicted of circulating pamphlets opposed to Jomo Kenyatta's KANU govt, criticizing it as 'dictatorial' and calling for political resistance within the pamphlet, 'Kenya: Twendapi?' (Kenya: the place are we heading?). His poetry epitomizes the continuing forex of vintage Swahili shape and language, whereas his paintings total, together with translations and editorships, exemplifies a two-way mediation among 'traditional' and 'modern' views. It makes outdated and new voices of Swahili poetry and African literature available to a much broader readership in East Africa, and past. Abdalla has lived in exile on the grounds that 1973, in Tanzania, London, and in this case, earlier, in Germany. however, Swahili literature and Kenyan politics have remained significant to his lifestyles.
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Extra info for Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics
It was as if some of us were blinded and tongue-tied, and Sauti ya Dhiki immediately opened our eyes and made us not to be afraid to speak out our plights and predicaments. Adorably, I myself was more inspired by Abdalla’s poetic skills and noble ideas: the ideas of courage, determination, dedication and commitment to fight for real freedom and dignity. These were ideas that most of us cherished not long time ago as our people were fighting for independence from colonial powers. We were in fact also aware of French revolution, of USA civil war and war of independence, of the Russian revolution, of courage and steadfastness of those engaged in the First and Second World Wars, and of the Chinese and Korean wars against Japan imperialism.
Unpublished manuscript. Abdalla, Abdilatif. 1973. Sauti ya Dhiki. Nairobi: Oxford University Press. Abdalla, Abdilatif. 1977. Wajibu wa Mshairi Katika Jamii Yake (The Obligations of a Poet within his/her Society). Lugha Yetu 30, Journal of National Kiswahili Council of Tanzania. Kai Kresse 33 Abdalla, Abdilatif. 1984. Matatizo ya Mwandishi wa Jamii Katika Afrika Huru . Lugha 3, Journal of Department of Afro-Asian Languages, Uppsala University, Sweden. Abdalla, Abdilatif. 1985. The Right and Might of a Pen.
Siwati ni lilo hilo, ‘talishika kwa vyovyote Siwati ni mimi nalo, hapano au popote Hadi kaburini sote, mimi nalo tufukiwe Said Ahmed Khamis 37 Never Will I Let Go Never will I let go what I hold dearly, I’ll not abandon it - why should I? Never will I let go, for what it is, I’ll firmly hold it, come what may Never will I let go, it’s me and what I believe in Be it here where I am, or somewhere else Till both of us are thrown into a grave together23 The insistence of ‘never will I let go’ is profound, deliberate and hyperbolically poignant in a self-assertive way.
Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics by Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse