Swahili love poem
Kivuli chako kwenye kioo
Ni utenzi wangu bora
Lakini fanya haraka unapotea
Ni wa mwisho, "nakupenda"
→ Poem the mirror ←
Swahili language and people
(Upendo shairi) Love poem "la glace" translated into Swahili. Some verses for the faces of the Tanzanian women, which are a sunny reflection of an africa that radiates of sweetness.
Swahili (souhaéli, kiswahili), is spoken by 150 million people in a dozen countries in Africa. It is an essential language in these countries, including: (Congo, Kenya, Comoros, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique).
Originally spoken in the coastal areas between Lamu (Kenya) and the southern border of Tanzania, Swahili is used as an intercourse language on a very large area.
There are three main dialects: the kiunguja in Zanzibar which is the basis of the standard Swahili, the kimvita in the region of Mombasa, and the kiamu around Lamu. No other native language of Africa can compare to swahili in terms of number of speakers or in international standing.
It would be the Bantu result of the contacts between the Bantu groups of the East Coast of Africa and the merchants, especially Persians and Arabs, but also Indians and Chinese who settled there over the centuries.
Swahili has many words borrowed from Arabic, due to the Arabic-speaking settlers of the African coast beginning about the 7th century... the word "Swahili" comes from the Arabic word "sahil" = "coast".
During the 19th century, it was carried inland by Arab tradesmen, and later was made the language of administration in the German colony of Tanganyika (Tanzania).
Swahili is a Bantu language that belongs to the Sabaki group of Bantu languages from the northeast coast. Swahili has been spoken in eastern Africa since Bantu groups from the Great Lakes region reached the coast (800).
The first outbreaks are likely to be in northern Kenya today. The maritime trade, will spread the language of Mogadishu until Delgado. In contact with the Arabs, for centuries, the language will make many borrowing from Arabic that could suggest a mixed language.
The ports on the coast, because of the trade and their economic power, will give to the sawhili an importance, and the development of a poetry, written with the Arabic characters, in different of its dialects (18th). Around 1930 the European missionaries will introduce the Latin letters.
The different dialects are regional varieties with generally an intercomprehension without difficulty.
If the Bantu background of Swahili is undeniable, this language has a rare peculiarity, since it has integrated many, many words from other languages (Arabic, Persian, Indian and European), while retaining its Bantu structure.
My little poem in Swahili is in the most spoken African language in south Sahara. Unlike many languages in Africa, there are writings for several centuries in Swahili, first in the Arabic alphabet and then in the Latin alphabet.
The oldest written document dates from the 18th century. The lexicon makes many borrowings from Arabic (including the word Swahili itself, which comes from an Arabic adjective meaning coastal).
Indeed, it was in the 18th century that a Muslim religious literature in Swahili developed, it was followed in the 19th century by Christian literature, and in the 20th century by less religious literature. Today, poetry remains at the center of Swahili literature (let us quote some writers: Kezilahabi, Shafi, Muyaka).
The Swahilis are Bantu whose origins go back to the meeting of Arab groups, and members of the former Makwas and Makondés populations. As a result, their system of filiation became patrilineal; The goods being transmitted by agnatic means, and the marriage being accompanied by the dowry.