Learn Swahili - Word Power 2001

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The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism , especially in the s, although most of the Atlantic slave trade that brought African people to America originated in West Africa. Kwanzaa is a celebration with its roots in the black nationalist movement of the s. Karenga established it to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzo Saba , the "seven principles of African Heritage", which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy".

For Karenga, a major figure in the Black Power movement of the s and s, the creation of such holidays also underscored an essential premise "you must have a cultural revolution before the violent revolution. The cultural revolution gives identity, purpose and direction. During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said it was meant to be an alternative to Christmas.

He believed Jesus was psychotic and Christianity was a "White" religion that Black people should shun. These seven principles comprise Kawaida , a Swahili word meaning "common". Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows: [12]. Kwanzaa celebratory symbols include a mat Mkeka on which other symbols are placed: a Kinara candle holder , Mishumaa Saba seven candles , mazao crops , Mahindi corn , a Kikombe cha Umoja unity cup for commemorating and giving shukrani thanks to African Ancestors, and Zawadi gifts.

Supplemental representations include a Nguzo Saba poster, [13] the black, red, and green bendera flag , and African books and artworks — all to represent values and concepts reflective of African culture and contribution to community building and reinforcement. Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art, colorful African cloth such as kente , especially the wearing of kaftans by women, and fresh fruits that represent African idealism.

It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Libations are shared, generally with a common chalice, Kikombe cha Umoja , passed around to all celebrants. Non-African Americans also celebrate Kwanzaa. A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, reflection on the Pan-African colors , a discussion of the African principle of the day or a chapter in African history, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast karamu.

The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is Habari Gani? At first, observers of Kwanzaa avoided the mixing of the holiday or its symbols, values, and practice with other holidays, as doing so would violate the principle of kujichagulia self-determination and thus violate the integrity of the holiday, which is partially intended as a reclamation of important African values.

For people who celebrate both holidays, Kwanzaa is an opportunity to incorporate elements of their particular ethnic heritage into holiday observances and celebrations of Christmas. Cultural exhibitions include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, an annual celebration held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featuring interpretive dance , African dance , song and poetry. The National Retail Federation has sponsored a marketing survey on winter holidays since , and in found that 1. He has always claimed it is celebrated all over the world.

Baker puts the number at 12 million. Mayes added that white institutions now celebrate it. Starting in the s, the holiday became increasingly commercialized, with the first Hallmark Card being sold in , [30] and there has been concern about this damaging the holiday's values. The holiday has also spread to Canada and is celebrated by Black Canadians in a similar fashion as in the United States.

Asante, Jr. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the river in Angola, see Cuanza River. For the currency, see Angolan kwanza. Seven candles in a kinara symbolize the seven principles of Kwanzaa. African American portal Holidays portal. Retrieved December 27, The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, Retrieved October 25, April 13, The poems in Sikate Tamaa Do not give up centre around the reality of life in the world, highlighting suffering and oppression of the poor.

Several of the poems discuss good and bad leadership in the third world countries especially after independence. Thematically, the poems can be categorized into two groups, namely political poems and poems about everyday life. In the political poems, the poet paints a picture of the ills rendered by leaders, corruption in particular, thus rebuking such leaders. For instance, in the poem "Nimeamka! The poet in "Ajabu" Strange shows how farmers who work hard in the fields do not enjoy the fruit of their labour; instead, the rich are the ones who benefit from the farmers' harvest. In the poem "Ukoloni na Ukoloni-mamboleo" Colonialism and Neo-colonialism , the poet draws a comparison between colonialism and neo-colonialism, showing that the latter is worse than the former.

This poem implies that African leadership is ruthless and wicked compared to the colonial masters. There are many poems about everyday matters such as not giving up in life in "Sikate Tamaa" Do not give up , not to be choosy in job searching in "Mtu hachagui Kazi" One does not choose a job and oppression of women by men in "Imani ya Mwana" Faith of a child. In terms of structure, the poet tries to deviate from traditional poetic structures. The word shujaa represents a hero who in most cases is a male person. Shujaa is a brave person or a warrior, who has gone through battles and came out victorious.

In the African context, women never went to battle; they remained at home as their men went to the battlefront. In this poem, the poet depicts a woman warrior who is very brave despite traditional societal expectation. According to the poet, this woman is strong, firm, merciful, hard working and brave like a man. The poet uses the word shujaa in this poem to effectively explain the characteristics of this new African woman.

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In Swahili, an equivalent of shujaa is the word nguli. Despite having a Swahili word, the poet chose to use a loanword, for prestige reasons. Bara Jingine Another continent, is a collection of modern poems authored by Kithaka wa Mberia. It contains a total of thirty-four poems which are thematically categorized into two groups, namely poems on political and social topics, and poems to do with nature and environmental matters Bertoncini Structurally, the poems in Bara Jingine are composed in free verse and are generally short Bertoncini These are modern poems in Swahili as opposed to the traditional prosodic poems which are composed by adhering to the strict rules of equal stanzas, rhyme and meter.

Modern poetry in Swahili is characterized by free verse, absence of rhymes and meter, and no equal number of stanzas in a verse. Thus, Bara Jingine is representative of modern Swahili poetry. Bertocini asserts that "Kithaka wa Mberia together with other East African contemporary poets has made a great contribution towards the renewal of the genre, proving that Swahili poetry is able to express universal themes and reach high artistic standards even without following traditional models" This happened during the apartheid days in South Africa under the rule of P.

Botha who also attended the meeting. In that meeting, all the African presidents rebuked the then president of South Africa for the violence and deaths suffered by poor South Africans of African descent. They lashed out at him for the innocent blood that was shed following the brutal shooting and killing of African school children in Soweto. It paints a picture where shops are suddenly broken into and looted followed by gunshots and merciless killing of people.

The poet finally longs for a day when African countries will be ruled by democratically elected leaders. Social topics such as gender-based violence against women feature in certain poems Bertoncini The poem "Giza Mbele" Darkness ahead , is a story of a schoolgirl who is abducted and raped on her way from school. As a result, the girl becomes pregnant and, cannot, therefore, proceed with her education.

Likewise, "Pamela" is a poem that describes a young schoolgirl who is gang-raped and later drops out of school. Because of the rape, she goes mad and begins loitering in the market place naked. Different people in the community try to explain the predicament that has befallen Pamela-some saying it is God's wrath for her sins, others claiming it is witchcraft; while others suggest it is the ghost of her departed maternal uncle that is tormenting her.

Poems about the environment include "Ngao" Shield , in which the poet-speaker laments that through his technological activities, man is slowly destroying the ozone layer, thus exposing himself to the harmful rays of the sun. The river is dying due to its being harmed by waste in the form of oil, tins, tyres and all manner of garbage being dumped unto it. When people moved to Nairobi city, they found the river very clean and used its waters in their various activities. Now the river regrets the fact that even though it co-exists with Nairobi people, the people do not appreciate it in turn.

The poet of Bara Jingine has used loanwords from the economic register such as umiliki possessions and sokoni in the market. In the third stanza of the poem "Ju-mapili ya Damu" the poet uses the loanword umiliki. Economic activity is suddenly disrupted by the violence caused by military regimes. Due to the military violence in the city, all the merchandise in the shops is looted, leaving the shopkeepers whose possessions have been looted poorer. Although the Swahili had possessions prior to the coming of Arabs, they seem to have no word for it. Therefore, this loanword was used for the reason of need; there is no Swahili word that can be used in its place.

In part three of the poem "Pamela", the poet uses the loanword sokoni, in which he describes Pamela's life after her ordeal of being gang raped. According to the poet, Pamela resorts to a life of loitering in the market place after eventually becoming mad. Here, the irony is that a market is a place which is busy with economical activities, as people come to buy and sell. On the contrary, Pamela is not engaging in economical activities at the market because of her rape ordeal.


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The word sokoni which is used metaphorically, shows the effect of rape on Pamela. In other words, evil acts such as violence meted on women end up affecting women's economic power by derailing their studies and career development. Swahili has words for "market," that is, chete and gulio. However, the poet used the loanword sokoni, again for the reason of prestige.

In this case, the loanword plays the role of decorating the poem for aesthetic purposes. It is also important to note that the Swahili words chete and ngulio are not used in everyday conversation of the speakers; instead, the words soko market and sokoni in the market are often used. Adili na Nduguze is a novel authored by Shaaban Robert.

It is a story of Adili whose brothers are jealous of him. The novel "is concerned with the virtue of charity, the criticism of futile jealousy and the lashing out of punishment that deforms the physical structure of human beings instead of reforming them morally" Wafula The loanword Adili is used for the main character of this novel.

This word refers to something or someone righteous and morally upright. The narrator uses this name to portray the unquestionable character of this person called Adili. As a government officer, Adili maintains a high level of integrity in all that he does, and this is the theme being showcased through the main character.

The virtue of being a good person had been in Swahili before the coming of the Arabs. The word that was used by Swahili people to refer to integrity is mwenendo mwema, which literarily means, good behavior or conduct. Thus, for prestige reasons, the author uses the loanword Adili, which has more weight in terms of integrity compared to the Swahili word. It is a story about a young man known as Kongowea Mswahili, who was born to a talented taarab singer called Zainabu Makame. The loanword refers to a special kind of Swahili music whose melody is Arabian or Indian.

Through the depiction of Mswa-hili's mother as a gifted taarab singer, the author depicts Swahili culture, because that type of music is a popular genre within it. This story shows that Zainabu Makame is a woman of integrity both in her private and public life as a taarab musician. In Swahili, there is no equivalent for taarab since this kind of music is a new concept that was introduced into Swahili culture. Even though the Swahili had their own types of music, there is no Swahili word that could be used to refer to taarab music.

Hence, the loanword taarab serves both need and prestige reasons in this story.

Jifunze Kiingereza --- English for Swahili Speakers --- Swahili/English

My analysis of the literary texts has demonstrated that most loanwords were borrowed to cater for functional needs and prestige especially in the domains of commerce and religion. The examples given are just but a few of the many loanwords identified in the selected literary works.

Modern Swahili: the integration of Arabic culture into Swahili literature

One could thus argue that literature enhances the idea of cultural integration through showcasing the Arabic words borrowed into Swahili. Linguistic borrowing is a product of cultural contact among speakers of Swahili and Arabic. Moreover, this cultural contact has led to cultural integration from Arabic to Swahili which happened especially when the Swahili people embraced the Islamic faith.

Apart from Islam, the Swahili also adopted Arabic culture into their own and borrowed their linguistic terms into the Swahili language, which are evident in Swahili literature. As witnessed above, the language used in Swahili literary works contains a lot of words borrowed from Arabic.

Linguistic borrowing from Arabic to Swahili has led to the realisation of many Arabic words in Swahili. As such, Swahili has continued to enrich her vocabulary in many socio-cultural, religious and economic domains of society.

Words borrowed from Arabic have become part and parcel of Swahili both in spoken and written forms. Thus, Arabic has enriched Swahili literature with its vocabulary, which is also integrated in Swahili culture. Linguistic borrowing can be said to have a significant contribution to the growth and development of Swahili. Swahili has benefited from Arabic vocabulary because of linguistic borrowing.

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It is through linguistic borrowing that Swahili contains many words from Arabic; and this is the reason many people mistake Swahili either to be an Arabic dialect, or to have Arabic origins. Hence, Swahili has ended up having a lot of cultural concepts in the spheres of religion, economics, education, socio- cultural, administration and literature borrowed from Arabic. The loanwords from Arabic are widely used by writers of Swahili literary works ranging from the novel, poetry, the short story and plays, as witnessed in the writings of Sayyid Abdalla A.

Nasiri, Shaaban Robert, Said A. Mohamed, Kithaka wa Mberia and Ken Walibora, who use loanwords effectively in the writing of their literary texts. Amidu, A. Akidah, M. U of Nairobi, Bertoncini, E. Boesch, C. They had no other choice but to rely on the information provided by the biggest media. APO has grown since its inception as it provides a variety of media offerings such as press releases, videos, photos, documents and audio-files.

The company has sources such as global Fortune 1, companies, reputable international and Africa-based PR agencies, governments and international institutions. I was a journalist and I wanted to address a problem. As a correspondent of Gabonews, before the inception of his company, Pompigne-Mognard was covering Europe, and he had to report Africa-related news and needed information. As a result, he would ensure he was receiving as many press releases as possible; however, this came with its own logistic challenges. There was not one point where I could get all the African information issued by the international system.

It was very time-consuming to get access to all the content…. Over the years, Pompigne-Mognard has observed a similar trend in the way press releases are compiled and disseminated. Usually, when a company issues one, it is to say that they are appointing a new CEO, they are opening a new branch, or they are expanding into new markets.

We are in a unique place where we have a chance to influence the narrative and make sure that Africa has its own voice and is not influenced by the bias of international media.

Learn Swahili - Word Power 101

Although information is accessible to those who seek it, he says there is currently another challenge that African media needs to resolve in order to maintain autonomy and make money to sustain itself. Think about the international companies which are willing to expand on the continent. What if 10 years from now, the conclusion is that in the most developed economies on the continent, the nationals are watching more international media? Where exactly do we think the international companies are going to spend on advertisements? Pompigne-Mognard says the continent is ripe with potential and international media companies, which have observed the budding possibilities, are striking while the iron is hot.

Finances remain a colossal inhibiter to the growth of newsrooms, as many have had to retrench to make ends meet. It has become very difficult to finance content and to find new ways to make money. But in order to do that, people need to understand that media companies need to be run as businesses. He says the status quo can be reversed if there is a joint effort to curb the problem.

But the good news is that for those who manage to do that thing in Africa, they can do it anywhere. Connect with us. Share Tweet. Luis von Ahn looks like a tech-guru who has made millions — casually-dressed, subtle and polite. This stroke of genius did not make Von Ahn a dime, he says. The app market was only just launching in , but that was all about to change. Continue Reading. You may like. Other Things Do. Published 1 week ago on July 1, By Forbes. Entrepreneurs Pain, Poison And Potential.

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