Swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

Swahili history

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

The Swahili language, is basically of Bantu (African) origin. as a result of the Swahili people using the Quran written in Arabic for spiritual guidance as the nineteenth-century helped spread the language to the interior of particularly Tanzania. Tanzania's special relations with countries of southern Africa was the chief. 4Gervase Mathew, "The East African Coast Until the Coming of the Portuguese," in . Africans reaching the coast from the interior (and only later pene- appeared, this would solve the problem of what Freeman-Grenville .. Relations and Consciousness of the Swahili People of Ujiji, a Small Town of Tanzania, East . Africa. The Swahili people identified themselves with Islam and their leaders and more light on this problem, suggesting that East Africa was Punt or a part of Punt. . He probably followed a trade route from Rhapta to the deep interior where he .

The earliest recorded attempt by the Muslims to conquer East Africa occurred at the end of the 7th century. Al Jahiz, a 9th century African scholar based in the Middle East, wrote about East Africa and episodes that had taken place there from the 7th century. One of the events took place in the late 7th Journal des Africanistes 72 2 The Arab army "was destroyed by the natives" Lewicki It is not clear if there were any more efforts by Arabs to launch war in East Africa. What appears clear from Al Jahiz's report is that East Africa was politically and militarily well organized.

Al Jahiz and other writers also suggest that after the 8th century, East Africa was divided into two political regions. These two place names appear in later Arab reports. The former becomes Qanbalu in the work of Masud in the 10th century Freeman-Grenville and in Idrisi's 12th century in which the area was mapped. Masud reported an African religion which involved open air sermons in the presence of the king.

He also reports an organised African army. The settlement of Quabalu had an African Muslim population speaking an African language called Zahjiyya id.: They were mixed with non- Muslims.

The Muslims had conquered the non-Muslims by means of a crusade "in the same manner as the Muslim conquest of the island of Crete in the Mediterranean" id.: By Idrisi's time 12th centrurythe Arabs and the Chinese seemed to know quite a bit about East Africa in so far as maps of that time featured the interior as far as the Great Lake region and southern Africa where "Ard al-wag- wags" was located Trimingham ; Wheatley Notice that Trimingham id.: The only difference is that the former refered to the capitals of the two territories.

It is necessary to understand what really happened after the Zanj -Omani war of the late 7th century in which the Arabs were defeated. This involved an army, as the group was made of close relatives, followers and tribes Kirkman Could they all have died?

If some remained, could they have settled on the northern coast where the Early TIW tradition, which had defeated them, had little influence at that time? Could the remaining force organize the peripheral TIW communities to the north and found more enterprising settlements in the Lamu archipelago and on Pemba Qunbalu in the polity of Ard az-Zanj! More settlers are reported to have come to East Africa in the time of the great Abbasid caliphs AD.

The chronicle of Kilwa also talks about a Persian family coming to East Africa and founding important Swahili settlements including Kilwa.

Swahili - Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage

And in the 1 1th century, Quarmathians or Emozaydys are reported to have migrated to the coast of East Africa Horton There has been no way of verifying the immigration movements up to now. Kirkman and Sutton have viewed the reports based mostly on the Swahili chronicles as mythical. According to Sutton More than that, on the African shores and islands it was necessary, for townspeople as much as their rulers, to invoke an origin in Arabia or the Persian Gulf in order to demonstrate a genuine Muslim ancestry in the heartlands of Islam.

Second, at the same time period, the northern coast is more Muslim than the southern coast. Archaeology in the Lamu archipelago and historical records for Qunbalu suggest that the north had Muslim communities from about the 9th century or slightly earlier Horton Actually, the sailor mentioned in the report by Buzurg ibn Shahriyar 10th centurywho had been driven by wind past Qunbalu and accidentally landed in the land of Sufala, found the community to be non-Muslim.

It was a few years later that Islam was introduced in the area after the king whom the sailor had cunningly sold into slavery in the Middle East had managed to come back and convert his own people. Third, there was more active trading between the Middle East and the northern coast of East Africa between AD. Trade good remains in the Journal des Africanistes 72 2 The knowledge obtained from travellers' records suggest that nearly all traders from the Middle East ended their mission on the northern coast or islands whose capital was Quabalu.

Masud 10th century travelled several times to Qunbalu using trading ships. The records of Buzurg also mention a sailor who travelled to Quabalu from Siraf in Persia; this sailor landed accidentally in the land of Sufala after being driven by winds past Qunbalu. Lastly are the impressions of Chinese travellers and visitors during the Sung dynasty AD.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

A modern reconstruction of East Africa as possibly envisaged by a Chinese official of that time suggests that the coast of East Africa was predominantly Muslim north of Mombasa, but not south of there Wheatley On the other hand, there are several elements that clearly show that East Africans influenced affairs in the Middle East in the early Islamic period.

This side of things has never been emphasized enough, probably because the north has always been seen as a provider to the south. First, the pottery tradition of TIW dating back to the 8th and 10th centuries has been found in the Middle East.

This could include consideration of settlements by East Africans in the Middle East.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

Secondly, East Africans have been reported to have been taken to the Middle East as slaves. According to Trimingham They revolted and fought the government based at Bagdad. They were able to rule and maintain power for more than fifteen years. Other forces with Zanj contingents continued after the Zanj rule had been overthrown. The fact that the same population, whose power seems to have diminished from about AD, could migrate back to their home land in East Africa and Journal des Africanistes 72 2 Chami form a Muslim political and military force, has been indicated elsewhere Horton The Swahili period AD The end of the long, die-hard, orthodox African culture on the southern coast of East Africa was in the 13th century.

This is the time when the archaeological Plain Ware tradition Chami came to an end. The Swahili tradition, which was more Islamic with a good deal of Arabic influence, was introduced throughout the coast of East Africa.

Archaeologically, the tradition of this time period is called Neck Punctating or Swahili. This is the tradition that had been flourishing on the northern coast from the end of the early Islamic period although with some slight changes in its culture. By AD it had spread to all the islands, the Mozambique coast and northern Madagascar Chami ; Radimilahy Kilwa controlled trade to southern Africa and for the most part on the coast of East Africa.

Coins minted by the Kilwa sultanate spread all the way to southern Africa and the Middle East. Many coins from other parts, especially from the Muslim world, have also been found in East Africa Sutton ; Horton The relationship between the Middle East and East Africa seems to have been very healthy during this time. No documents suggest the existence of slave trade.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

InIbn Battuta described the people of Kilwa as black. He found them to be Muslims fighting their non-Muslim neighbours to the interior Gibb Muslim traders and visitors from the Middle East frequented the towns of the Swahili world, especially Kilwa. The towns of the Swahili grew very wealthy and were built using coral stones and lime. Swahili relations extended all the way to China with the king of Malindi sending gifts, including a live giraffe, to the Chinese emperor Kusimba With Swahili communities being so prosperous, no wonder that there were frequent visits of the Swahili people to the Middle East, in particular to conduct pilgrimages.

Arabic became the language of knowledge and most Swahili monuments bear inscriptions in this language. Coins of Kilwa made from about to Chittick 3 bore Arabic inscriptions. It is also probably at this time that the Swahili people started developing many mythical legends of their origins in the Middle East, now viewed as their "sacred land" Sutton Okpoko, edsThe archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns, Routledge, London, p.

Ancient Civilizations of Africa, Edinburg, Unesco, p. Fifth Interim Report", Iran 10, p.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

Williamson"Sasanian Maritime Trade", Iran 11, p. Omar"Archaeological Investigations at Pate", Azania 32, p. Ancient Civilizations of Africa, Edinburgh, Unesco, p. Spread into the Hinterland For centuries, Swahili remained as the language for the people of the East African coast. Long-time interactions with other people bordering the Indian Ocean spread the Swahili language to distant places such as on the islands of Comoro and Madagascar and even far beyond to South Africa, Oman and United Arab Emirates.

Trade and migration from the Swahili coast during the nineteenth-century helped spread the language to the interior of particularly Tanzania. Christian missionaries learnt Swahili as the language of communication to spread the Gospel in Eastern Africa.

So, the missionaries also helped to spread the language. As a matter of fact the first Swahili-English dictionary was prepared by a missionary. During the colonial time, Swahili was used for communication with the local inhabitants.

Hence the colonial administrators pioneered the effort of standardizing the Swahili language. Zanzibar was the epicenter of culture and commerce, therefore colonial administrators selected the dialect of the Zanzibar Unguja town as the standard Swahili. The Unguja dialect Kiunguja was then used for all formal communication such as in schools, in mass media newspapers and radioin books and other publications.

A Brief History of the Swahili Language

Now Swahili is spoken in many countries of Eastern Africa. For Tanzania, deliberate efforts were made by the independent nation to promote the language thanks to the efforts of the former head of state, Julius K. Tanzania's special relations with countries of southern Africa was the chief reason behind the spread of Swahili to Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, and other neighbouring countries to the south. Swahili is the national as well as the official language in Tanzania - almost all Tanzanians speak Swahili proficiently and are unified by it.

In Kenya, it is the national language, but official correspondence is still conducted in English. In Uganda, the national language is English but Swahili enjoys a large number of speakers especially in the military.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

As a matter of fact, during the Iddi Amin's rule Swahili was declared the national language of Uganda. However, the declaration has never been seriously observed nor repealed by the successive governments. International Presence Thus, Swahili is the most widely spoken language of eastern Africa and many world institutions have responded to its diaspora.

The Swahili language is also making its presence in the art world - in songs, theatres, movies and television programs. For example, the lyrics for the song titled "Liberian girl" by Michael Jackson has Swahili phrases: The well-celebrated Disney movie, "The Lion King" features several Swahili words, for example "simba" lion"rafiki" friendas the names of the characters.

The Swahili phrase "hakuna matata" No troubles or no problems was also used in that movie.