By Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse
Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics celebrates the paintings of Abdilatif Abdalla, considered one of Kenya's such a lot recognized poets and a dedicated political activist. It contains remark essays on points 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, stated Khamis, Ken Walibora, Ahmed Rajab, Mohamed Bakari, and Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, between others. Abdalla turned recognized in 1973, with the ebook of Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), a suite of poems written secretly in criminal 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 previous 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 because 1973, in Tanzania, London, and thus, formerly, in Germany. however, Swahili literature and Kenyan politics have remained crucial to his existence.
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Extra info for Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics
24 Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics Let me quote one statement of appreciation of this volume that was expressed by Shihabuddin Chiragdin in his foreword to Sauti ya Dhiki, and that goes along with the general gist of my argument here. Chiragdin, one of the foremost authorities on Swahili literature at the time, congratulates the admirable young poet ‘for teaching us that we should not run away from agony’ (kutufunza kuwa tusiikimbie dhiki; 1973: xii), as a lot may be learned from the process of living it through and expressing it powerfully.
I was therefore convinced that I should write something to support Abdalla’s cause, which was also my cause. I started composing one poem after another, till I obtained a fill in an anthology called ‘Sikate Tamaa (1980)/ “Never Despair”. I dedicated the anthology to Abdalla with the following words appearing on the first page: Salamu: Abdilatif Abdalla na Sauti ya Dhiki ... nimesoma mengi – “Greetings to Abdilatif Abdalla and The Voice of Agony ... ” Abdalla kindly wrote an introduction to my anthology.
At this time, barely out of his teens, Abdilatif Abdalla had a more heightened political consciousness than was common among his age-mates. That this was the case was not surprising because he came from a politically engaged family. His elder brother was already a controversial politician who was advocating secessionism for the Coast because of the fear of political dominance by the two largest tribes of the country, the Gikuyu and the Luo. This elder brother, Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, was to become one of the most important of coastal politicians.
Abdilatif Abdalla. Poet in politics by Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse