Maalim Shihab and identity politics in a Swahili sense.

To read Latifa Chiragdhin’s ‘Shihabuddin Chiraghdin: Life Journey of a Swahili Scholar’, (available on Amazona biography of her father, is to be intrigued, entertained and educated on matters history and culture, all at the same time. Latifa employs the use of simple, yet captivating language to take us through Maalim Shihab’s short but fulfilling life, right from childhood to adulthood in around two hundred pages.

IPA Seminar: Africa Rising.

The thought of speaking before an audience numbering a thousand or more filled me with an equal amount of excitement and queasiness, so much so that I almost bailed out. It was Gloria, my friend and editor who egged me on, reminding me importance of building networks and of Hekaya’s commitment as an emerging publisher in the culturally dynamic East African littoral creative space. It was an absolute joy when International Publishers Association Vice-President Bodour Al-Qasimi reached out and asked if I could speak at the seminar. The opportunity to talk about the little steps we are making in telling the coastal story and to hear what other established and emerging publishers are doing was always a welcome delight.

Article one: African fabrics and the role of Khanga in Swahili cultural preservation


“…For literature to remain a veritable tool and agent of social change, it must continue to reflect the conflicts and crises thrown up by the society.” Prof Edwin Onwuka, Covenant Uni., Ota Ogun State, Nigeria- Dept of Languages.

Our appreciation of the khanga as an active preserver of Swahili culture will use as its point of departure a true love story whose outcome is heavily influenced by the writing on a khanga . Abdi, a good non-Swahili boy falls in love with Fatma, a pure Swahili girl. Her father would have none of it and insists on getting her married to her first cousin who is just back from Abu Dhabi with lots of Arab money that can only be adequately spent in obtaining a worthy wife, a wife like Fatma. But Fatma loves Abdi, and she cannot see her life without him. Her grandmother knows and supports it too.

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