What is it about?

Drawing on research conducted between 2004 and 2009, this article examines newspaper debates on "muziki wa dansi" (East African urban jazz), a music genre and related dances which arose in East African coastal towns sometimes in the 1920s and became extremely popular in post-1945 urban Tanganyika. The article focuses on readers' dialogues conducted through Swahili rhyming poems (mashairi) and letters to the editor published in "Mambo Leo", the most popular Swahili magazine in Tanganyika. It also focuses on the creation of networks and new publics through print debates.

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Why is it important?

This article furthers scholarship on text reception and circulation in Africa by examining the role of newspaper debates in facilitating African public spheres and in creating a space for the formation of publics and communities. It treats the Swahili magazine "Mambo Leo" as a subject of historical study in its own right more than as a historical source used to retrieve public opinion and to show readers' involvement in refashioning the press. The article also illuminates the implications of African print cultures for questions of identity and post-colonial politics.

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This page is a summary of: Letters to the Editor and Poems: Mambo Leo and Readers' Debates on Dansi, Ustaarabu , Respectability, and Modernity in Tanganyika, 1940s––1950s , Africa Today, March 2011, Indiana University Press, DOI: 10.2979/africatoday.57.3.39.
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