Kiswahili Literature discussion

Kiswahili or Swahili is a language that had its origin from the Bantus. The style borrowed many words from other languages such as Arabic. There are multiple views about the birthplace of Swahili and how it spread to numerous parts of the continent. There is a belief that the Swahili language came as a result of interaction between the Asians and the Africans on the coast of East Africa. These two groups of people needed a common language through which they could understand one another appropriately. As a result, the Swahili word came to existence. There is also a belief that Kiswahili is an old language used by people of East Africa. The evidence can be seen in the ancient document Greek written known as the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. The documents explain how merchants from other areas such as Arabia spoke the native language as they intermarried with people from East Africa. Individuals suggest that this native language was Kiswahili. It is also evident as most individuals in the cost of East Africa speak Kiswahili.


Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Kiswahili Literature discussion
Just from $10/Page
Order Essay

Since then, Kiswahili has developed as a language and has spread to various countries globally. Countries like Kenya and Tanzania are using Swahili as their national language. Multiple individuals have made contributions to the development and spread of Swahili languages. Education institutions, scholars, and various authors have made significant contributions to the development of and spread of Swahili (Walsh, 2017). In this regard, the document is doing to cover various genres in Swahili literature and works done regarding these genres. The role played by the European during colonial colonialism times regarding the development of Kiswahili literature will also be covered. In relation, the document will include the contribution of women in the event of Swahili literature and their authorship. Lastly, essential themes in Swahili literature will be covered, and areas where the works are found.



Main Genres in Swahili Literature

Swahili literature consists of three main genres. These genres are; Riwaya, (novel). A play or drama which is Tamthilia in Swahili and poetry, which is Ushairi in Swahili. These three genres enable one to understand Swahili literature in a better way.

Riwaya (The Novel)

Riwaya (The Novel) is a fiction written novel in the Swahili language. These novels are written with different aims covered in the themes in each book. Authors write these novels with different objectives. Authors may write to condemn a given habit in society or to address given social morals. In this regard, books are educative to the learners and can contribute to general social well-being in the community (Rettová,2016). Many countries, especially in Eastern Africa, has incorporated Swahili into their education system. In Kenya, for example, learners must study Swahili from lower primary level to secondary school level. Swahili literature, known as fasihi, is well taught in high schools. A novel (Riwaya) is chosen from the available Swahili books to be examined in the final secondary examinations. The students, therefore, must study the story for four years in preparation for their final exam. In this way, learners can understand the Swahili language better. They can also apply ethical principles that they learn from the novel in their daily lives hence contributing to their well-being.


Tamthilia (play/ drama)

Tamthilia is a play written in the Swahili language. Playwrights write it. These Swahili plays contain dialogues between various characters in them. They may also contain songs in them. More than one characters participate in the Swahili plays. Also, these plays are meant to be dramatized or for performance in a theatre. The plays contain different episodes in various chapters. While acting in these novels, various individuals performing various roles on the stage may e involved. In return, every character can handle his or her part hence contributing to perfect flow in the performance. The scenes in these Swahili plays may vary. In this regard, the actors (waigizaji) should adopt a different environment while acting on the state. In return, the audience watching the performance of the play (hadhira) can get information in the right way and effectively.


Tamthilia (plays) are compulsory in the Kenyan education system, for example. It is an examinable part of the secondary school’s Swahili examination. Students, therefore, must study the recommended play (riwaya) by the ministry of education in preparation for exams. These plays have various benefits to individuals in society. They are educating. Readers, actors, and the audience of these plays can get beneficial information from these plays (Mwaliwa,2018). For the actors, it is a source of employment. Various individuals muster these plays and moves to multiple areas dramatizing them. In this way, they can get income from acting. The games are a source of entertainment for both actors and the audience. Some individuals go to the theatre to watch these plays, thereby becoming a source of entertainment for them.


Ushairi (Poetry)

Poetry (Ushairi) is a form of writing that shows high imaginative ability and awareness in the Swahili language. The language and arrangement of words in Swahili poetry is such a way that it can trigger emotional responses through the rhythm, meaning, and sound. Poems are, therefore, written in a particular manner to ensure the audience or the target groups get the information that is intended for them (Vierke,2015). Swahili poems serve different purposes, such as expressing a feeling, entertaining, educating, and as a way of passing the time.


Swahili poems are of different types and forms. Poem’s classes can be grouped concerning the number of lines in each stanza (mishororo katika kila ubeti). In this regard, a poem with three lines in a verse in Swahili can be said to be (tathlitha). Other types of Swahili poems are tarbia, takhmisa and tasdisa. Those are poems with four-five and nine lines in every stanza, respectively.

Similarly, various forms exist in Swahili poems. A type of poetry is determined by the words a sentence contains (mizani), the ordering of words that rhymes in a sentence (mpangilio wa vina) and several lines in every stanza. In this consideration, different Swahili poems exist, such as ukara and ukaraguni.


Prominent Swahili Writers and their Works

Various writers have made a significant contribution to the development of the Swahili language. These Authors have written different novels, poems, and plays in Swahili words. Their works have been used as Swahili studying materials in learning institutions (Biersteker& Rettová,2012). Their games have also been acted in various theatres.


Farouk Topan is one of the prominent Swahili writers. Born in 1940, Topan is currently the director of Swahili studies at Aga Khan University. He is a specialist in Swahili literature. He has written much Swahili modern poetry. He is also the author of fictional Swahili novels (Tamthilia) Mfalme Juha and Aliye Onja Pepo. Christopher Mwashinga born in 1955. He is from Tanzania a place called Mbeya. He was written Swahili poems and novels including, Sauti Kutoka Ughaibuni and Kilele Cha Tumaini. Said A. Muhammad (1918-1991) is another prominent writer from Tanzania. His work includes Kisima Cha Giningi and Duniani Kuna Watu.

In Kenya, Ken Walibora and John Habwe, among other writers, have hade significant contributions to the development of Swahili. Ken Walibora’s works include Kigadaa Kimemuozea, Siku Njema, and Ndoto ya Marekani. John Habwe’s works include Maisha Kitendawili and Kovu Moroni. Among these, Swahili authors and others have written great and major Swahili novels, poems, and plays that have made a significant impact on the advancement of Swahili language.


Roles of European Colonialism in Development of Swahili literature

Colonial powers plaid a significant role in the development and spread of Swahili literature. The end of world war I came with the defeat of the Germans. In return, the British took Tanganyika present-day Tanzania. Missionaries collaboration with the British colonialists in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar made official Swahili language where low-level governance was involved (Heldring& Robinson, 2017). Lower primary also used Swahili as the official language.

Some writers made Swahili be the mode of their expression on various matters. One such writer was Professor Mlama. He was a playwriter and a dramatist from Dar es Salaam University, Tanzania. Leaders such as the late Julius Nyerere also made a significant contribution to the growth of Swahili literature. He translated Shakespeare’s book, The Merchant of Venice to  Kiswahili language as Mabepari wa Venisi. In this regard, the Africans who could not understand English could the content in Swahili their native language—in return, enhancing the proper understanding of the text.


In 1930’s British authorities in collaboration with some local scholars and writers from Africa were able to standardize the Swahili language, which previously existed in kiAmu kiMvita, and kiUnjuga to a style that was mainly used in Zanzibar town; kiUnjuga. The word was used as a basis of the Swahili language. The language was also used in education and publishing in East Africa. It was during this time that James Mbotela wrote a Swahili novel titled Uhuru wa Watumwa, meaning ‘the freedom of slaves. Other Swahili poetry, book, and play writers such as Shabaan Robert and Muhammed Said Abdulla made significant contributions on development of Swahili language through their various works.


The colonialists and missionaries contributed to the development of Swahili language through the translation of, for example, the bible to local languages such as Swahili. This contributed to a proper understanding of the Scripture by the locals. In return, the locals were able to understand the language and communicate using Swahili effectively.  The development of Swahili has made it be used widely as a national language and as a learning language in various countries. Most countries in Africa are learning Swahili. In the United States, Swahili is also determined as a foreign language. In East Africa, especially in Kenya and Tanzania, most individuals use Swahili as their first language.


Women Authorship and Role in Swahili Literature

Women cannot be left behind in matters of Swahili development. They have played an important role in the development of Swahili literature (Hadjivayanis,2018). Rebecca Nandwa is a Kenyan female who is a writer of Swahili children’s stories. In this regard, she can promote the Swahili language as a local language in Kenya. Children reading her Swahili book understands the essential requirement of the word. In return, the children get a good and strong foundation in Swahili. In this regard, children acquire proper preparation for studying Swahili at further levels. Rebecca Nandwa has written many Swahili children’s stories, including, Mcheza Ngoma and Chura, among others. Her Swahili children story Nimefufuka made her win the Jomo Kenyatta award in 2013. These stories are educating and nurture children’s Swahili language.


Penina Muhando is a playwriter from Tanzania. She had made a significant contribution to the development of the Swahili language since the 1960s when she was writing play writes about ujamaa. Muhando wrote many works Haitian meaning guilt in 1972. Her other works include Tambueni Haki zetu, 1973, Heshima yangu, 1974, Pambo (Decoration), 1975, and Talaki si mke wangu (Woman, I Divorce You). Through these works, learners have obtained knowledge. Her plays have made a significant contributions in uniting the people during Ujamaa socialism. She has also created more significant theatre development hence enabling people to use plays to engage in important issues. Having English knowledge, Muhando could a dilemma of whether to write in English or Swahili. However, she decided to write her plays in Swahili to enable most Tanzanians to get the information from her work.


Mwana Kupona is another woman who has contributed to the development of Swahili. She was one of the earliest Swahili writers. She was a writer of Swahili poetry in the 19th century. Her most known work is Utendi wa Mwana Kupona. The poem was meant to advise her daughter on matters concerning marriage and the duties of a wife.


Various women are lecturers in various higher learning institutions.  In this regard, they have made significant contributions to research about Swahili literature. In this way, they can come up with relevant materials that can be used for studying Swahili. Learners can, therefore, acquire quality Swahili education. In return, they will be able to understand Swahili in the right way.

Themes in Swahili Literature

Various important themes are obtained from multiple Swahili literatures. These themes address various issues in society. In this regard, it enlightens the members of the community on various matters. Different themes depicted in diverse Swahili literature. These themes include the theme of love, conflict, power, corruption, heroism, and survival. These themes are meant to educate the readers on various matters, to guide and condemn bad behaviors in society.


The theme of conflict is much explored in Swahili literature. Conflict is a disagreement that arises between individuals as a result of their differences in interests. The idea of conflict can be significantly seen in the Swahili novel Kidagaa Kimemwozea written by Ken Walibora. In this novel, the conflict exists between various characters. There is the conflict between Amani, the main character of the book, and his employer Mtemi Nasaba Bora. Amani’s employers had stolen the land belonging to Amani’s Uncle. Amani wanted to get the property back from his employer. He also wanted Nasaba Bora to order the release of his uncle from jail. Conflict also ruled among the members of Nasaba Bora’s family. He denied his wife conjugal rights, and he also accused her wife of cheating on her with Amani. His children also did not love him because of his cruel acts towards the citizens whom he was their chief. Conflict is also evident between Mwalimu Majisifu and his wife. There is also a conflict between him and Amani as he had stolen a book that belonged to Amani.

The theme of responsibility is evident in the Swahili novel Chozi La Heri by Assumpta K. Matei. The author is criticizing the failures of parents in their duty of bringing up their children. Naomi Lunga’s wife is showing irresponsibility in bringing up their children. Naomi does not help his husband in bringing up their children when they have difficulties. Zohali’s parents also show irresponsibility when their daughter gets pregnant in her second form. In return, this makes Zohali escape from her home and go to the city, where she faces various kinds of challenges. The institutions responsible for taking care of orphans do not performs their duties efficiently hence contributing to the suffering of the children.


The theme of poverty is evident in the Swahili novel Kiu by Mohamed Suleiman. Poverty is rampant in most countries, especially in Africa. In this regard, Authors may write about it to open the eyes of the public on matters regarding poverty. Poverty may exist from the individual level to the national level. In the novel, the government of Tanzania came up with various ways of encouraging its citizens to work to curb poverty. Multiple leaders in the government also encouraged farmers and other workers to generally work hard to improve their living standards with the income from their jobs.


In conclusion, Swahili literature has made significant progress in its development. Various stakeholders such as the Europeans, authors of Swahili literature, and Swahili educators have made a substantial contribution to development of Swahili. Different genre makes up the Swahili literature. These genres include poetry, novels, and plays. The types are educative to the readers and various members of society. Swahili literature is also a source of employment for multiple individuals, such as actors of the plays. Every genre carries themes that contribute to educating the public about various matters. Individuals should, therefore, work together to ensure the continuation of growth and development of the Swahili language.



Biersteker, A., & Rettová, A. (2012). Swahili Language and Literature. Oxford Bibliographies     Online Datasets.

Hadjivayanis, I. (2018). Integration and identity of Swahili speakers in Britain: case studies of     Zanzibari women. Contemporary Issues in Swahili Ethnography, 143-158.

Heldring, L., & Robinson, J. A. (2017). Colonialism and Development in Africa. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Mwaliwa, H. C. (2018). Modern Swahili: an integration of Arabic culture into Swahili literature. Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, 55(2), 120-133.            9070/tvl.v.55i2.1631

Rettová, A. (2016). Existentialism and Swahili Literature. Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics,       109-122.

Vierke, C. (2015). Comparing the Incomparable? On the Poetic Use of Language in Swahili Hip- Hop and ‘Classical’ Swahili Poetry. Matatu, 46(1), 81-112.

Walsh, M. (2017). The Swahili language and its early history. The Swahili World, 121-130.   

Get professional assignment help cheaply

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason may is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Our essay writers are graduates with diplomas, bachelor, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college diploma. When assigning your order, we match the paper subject with the area of specialization of the writer.

Why choose our academic writing service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently



Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY!!!

order custom essay paper