Musical Figures and the Archiving of African Identity in Selected Poems in Tanzania: Reading Mulokozi’s “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” and Kezilahabi’s “Ngoma ya Kimya”

Imani Sanga
  • Critical Arts, July 2017, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/02560046.2017.1386696

Musical Figures and the Archiving of African Identity in Selected Poems by Mulokozi and Kezilahabi

What is it about?

This article discusses two Kiswahili poems, namely “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” (A forgotten song) by Mugyabuso Mulokozi and “Ngoma ya Kimya” (A dance of silence) by Euphrase Kezilahabi, and examines how these poems use musical figures to archive African or Tanzanian identities. The article argues that although both poems perform a postcolonial act of subverting the hegemonic position of Western culture amongst Tanzanians, these two poems engage in this process differently. While “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” advocates for an archiving of African traditional music, dance, and ritual under the banner of a return to the roots, “Ngoma ya Kimya” advocates for an archiving done through the use of fragmentary remains from past musico-cultural practices.

Why is it important?

This article discusses two Kiswahili poems, namely “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” (A forgotten song) by Mugyabuso Mulokozi and “Ngoma ya Kimya” (A dance of silence) by Euphrase Kezilahabi, and examines how these poems use musical figures to archive African or Tanzanian identities. The article argues that although both poems perform a postcolonial act of subverting the hegemonic position of Western culture amongst Tanzanians, these two poems engage in this process differently. While “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” advocates for an archiving of African traditional music, dance, and ritual under the banner of a return to the roots, “Ngoma ya Kimya” advocates for an archiving done through the use of fragmentary remains from past musico-cultural practices.

Perspectives

Professor Imani SANGA (Author)
University of Dar es Salaam

This article discusses two Kiswahili poems, namely “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” (A forgotten song) by Mugyabuso Mulokozi and “Ngoma ya Kimya” (A dance of silence) by Euphrase Kezilahabi, and examines how these poems use musical figures to archive African or Tanzanian identities. The article argues that although both poems perform a postcolonial act of subverting the hegemonic position of Western culture amongst Tanzanians, these two poems engage in this process differently. While “Wimbo Uliosahaulika” advocates for an archiving of African traditional music, dance, and ritual under the banner of a return to the roots, “Ngoma ya Kimya” advocates for an archiving done through the use of fragmentary remains from past musico-cultural practices.

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Imani SANGA