Tag: language

“sub-saharan africa” doesn’t exist – drop the scissors

So last year we talked about how there is no such thing as the “Arab spring” – yes? yes. And you cut that out of your vocabulary. Good. I thought we wouldn’t need to have a conversation about how there is no such place as “Sub-Saharan Africa”…. but well, it seems we do, because the rate I keep seeing this term, and with my fellow rads and Africans too……‍ so…

a proposal to retire the term ‘arab spring’

1. It’s a misnomer that excludes (further). First word, Arab: there are more ethnicities than Arab in North Africa. Hold up, I’ll say that again. North Africa is not made up of Arabs alone. Tuaregs, various Amazigh communities, Nubian communities and many others, all live in North Africa. Some were there before the Arabs. Saying “Arab Spring” manages to disappear all of these people from the record and perpetuate their…

msafiri hakuna barabara – machado in kiswahili

Msafiri, nyayo zako Ndizo barabara, sio vinginevyo; Msafiri, barabara haipo, Hutengenezwa kwa kutembea. Kwa kutembea watengeneza njia, Na ukiangaza macho nyuma Utayaona mandhari ambayo katu Hutarudi kuyapitia. Msafiri, hakuna barabara, Bali mawimbi baharini. ya Antonio Machado imetafsiriwa na Wangũi Kamonji Linapatikana hapa katika Kiingereza na Kihispania Huku nikifanya juhudi ya kulitafsiri shairi hili katika Gĩgĩkũyũ kama unayo motisha ya kutafsiri katika lugha unayoizungumza wewe, nitumie utafsiri wako nitauchapisha hapa.

kwani? literary festival – gems

I attended some events of the Kwani? Literary Festival that was held 2 weeks ago in various locations around Nairobi. The festival brought together authors from countries including South Africa, Somalia, D.R.C., Senegal, U.S.A., Ghana, Tanzania, Italy and our very own Kenya to consider questions of language in new ways. If you are familiar with African writing, then you know that the question of what language to write in, and…

thoughts on language

I just read about the realisation that some documents in the possession of a family in Cape Town are important and were written in Afrikaans using Arabic script. This is the 3rd time that I have come into contact with Arabic script beng used to write languages besides Arabic (apparently such writings are known as ajami) – in Morocco in the Jewish Museum in Casablanca, there are Hebrew documents written…

fika vontaji

Sometimes I wonder what it means to be a woman, sheng’* speaking, running around the world (often enough that I thought to write the poem below {about Brazilian/Paulista hospitality} within my first days of being in São Paulo but didn’t, unfortunately- for the poem). The question of what language to use when I write is one that is constantly on my heart and mind (see here) but more about that…

4 phrases I will miss from brasil

(written on the flight to Mexico City from São Paulo) I am reminded as the flight attendant attempts to offer me a choice of scrambled eggs or omelettes (huevos revueltos o omelette) that I will soon have to retrain my brain to speak Spanish as opposed to Portuguese. It took about 4 attempts for me to piece together that it was scrambled eggs she was talking about, and that I…

hukuskia?

The past could not imagine me,the present has not imagined me.contemporary modern woman? Of courseI have to speak in correctBritish English, exhalingvowels and consonantsthrough my nose…roll my tongue… Lakini wapi?Hata hiyo mdomo ikijaribuhaiwesmake – na bila apology.Walisahau kuambia nahodha,lugha ilikuja ikimwagikanga kwa njia. Na hii hatukuisaveka petroli ya tanker Mombasa Highway imeanguka. A-ah.Hii tuka- finyanga, seremala, chomelea,guzishia, nyongesea. Ikawa yetu.Hukuskia nguo ya kuombwahaifunikangi rasa? “ngumu kwangu Kizungu fluentlakini huezi command…