Swahili palimpsests: the Muslim stories beneath Swahili compositions

The concept of ‘Swahili Palimpsests’ recalls a theory of transtextuality in investigating Swahili Muslim textual relations. Through a close reading comparing excerpts in Arabic and Swahili, the author delves into three prophets’ stories: those of Isa (Jesus), Ayubu (Job) and Yusuf (Joseph). The adaptation study carried out in this article sheds light on two well known yet different literary genres: the canonical Arabic Qiṣaṣ al-Anbiyā’ and the Swahili narrative poems, namely tenzi or tendi

Read the full text.

This article appeared in Swahili Forum 25 (2018), Special Issue: Swahili Literature in Global Exchange: Translations, Translators and Trends. Ed. by Uta Reuster-Jahn & Serena Talento. Read the Special Issue.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Annachiara Raia

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Annachiara Raia has been University Lecturer in the LUCAS department of the Faculty of Humanities and at the African Studies Centre Leiden since March 2019. The main focus of her research is Swahili literature and, in particular, the Swahili adaptation of one of the most widely travelled stories of mankind, the Islamic Story of Joseph, Qiṣat Yūsuf). 



Full text, catalogue, and publisher website