By Rose Marie Beck, Kai Kresse

Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics ­celebrates the paintings of Abdilatif Abdalla, one among Kenya's so much famous poets and a devoted political activist. It comprises observation essays on features of Abdilatif Abdalla's paintings and existence, 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, acknowledged Khamis, Ken Walibora, Ahmed Rajab, Mohamed Bakari, and Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir, between others. Abdalla grew to become recognized in 1973, with the e-book of Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), a set of poems written secretly in felony in the course of 3 years of solitary confinement (1969-72). He was once convicted of circulating pamphlets opposed to Jomo Kenyatta's KANU executive, 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 wider readership in East Africa, and past. Abdalla has lived in exile considering 1973, in Tanzania, London, and for this reason, previously, in Germany. however, Swahili literature and Kenyan politics have remained vital to his lifestyles.

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Within a short span of time, Kenya was becoming a class-ridden society in the classical Marxist sense. The intellectual elite, especially in the University College, Nairobi, was veering increasingly to the extreme left, within the context of the Cold War. 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.

Not all artists find the aesthetic that allows them to treat the political convulsions of these last hundred years in ways that do not make us question the very validity or relevance of art. But a handful have managed to make us believers – believers in the power of craft ... One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain. It is not so much what it teaches, but what it fills, and how it manages to touch us in ways that are only explained by the beauty of the crafting of the words. To teach this to students is sometimes difficult for they want answers, they are not always interested in finding a salve for souls through the music of words placed side each other or the tenor of the sounds that emanate from the sound system in the lecture hall...

2007. Swahili: Beyond the Boundaries – Literature, Language and Identity. (African Series, No. 85). Ohio/Athens: Ohio University Research in International Studies. Ngaboh-Smart, Francis. 1997-98. Science and Representation of African Identity in Major Gentl and the Achimota Wars. Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 7, 1: 58-79. West, Cornel & Ritz, David. 2009. Living and Loving. Carlsbad: Smiley Books. Mohamed Bakari The Poetics of Abdilatif Abdalla’s Agony Abdilatif Abdalla was charged with sedition in 1968 after publishing and distributing an article in Swahili entitled Kenya: Twendapi?

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