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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53563
Doc. No:TL23517
Call number:‭3379650‬
Main Entry:Rose Ong'oa-Morara
Title & Author:One size fits all: The interplay of kanga, makawa Swahili poetry, and taarab in the communication of Zanzibari womenRose Ong'oa-Morara
College:Arkansas State University
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:309
Abstract:The strategic location of the Swahili people along the East African coast has placed them in the way of several newcomers, both local and foreign, who have come to the coast for various economic and political purposes. For this reason the Swahili have had to make adjustments to accommodate the newcomers, often having to redefine their Swahili identity. They have used various tools in this redefinition process including music, dance, and clothing. This dissertation explores the use of a clothing item known as kanga in this process. Kanga is a rectangular multicolored cotton cloth with printed messages along its lower border. It is sold and worn in matching pairs by Swahili women. The cloth was used by non-Swahili ex-slaves to define themselves as Swahili in the late 19th century following the establishment of European colonial governments, which segregated the inhabitants of the coast in racial and ethnic terms. Today, kanga remains the favorite cloth of Swahili women, who now include those of slave-descent. The production/invention of the kanga in the late 19 th century drew influences from both local and foreign sources. For this reason the cloth has been identified severally as a fashionable cloth for Zanzibari women, a traditional garment for Swahili women, and a foreign commercial product manufactured for the East African market. My research examines what the kanga is and what it represents for the Swahili women of Zanzibar. My findings indicate that kanga is a tool used by Zanzibari women in similitude in social interactions in their Islamic society. The term "similitude" here describes a strategy where minority members of a society claim to share the perspectives of the dominant members in order to influence the perception of the dominant. Although Kanga aligns the women with the ideals of the Swahili society--autonomy, taste for fashion, decency in the use of dress, and appropriate language, it embodies certain ideals of non-Swahili/slave societies, which in themselves challenge Swahili ideals, such as the elevation of unyago teachings--a rite of passage into adulthood performed for young women in most non-Swahili ethnic societies in Tanzania.
Subject:Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Kanga; Makawa; Swahili; Taarab; Unyago; Zanzibar; Poetry; Women; African literature; Black studies; Cultural anthropology; Womens studies; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0453:Womens studies; 0316:African literature; 0325:Black studies
Added Entry:E. Gilbert
Added Entry:Arkansas State University