Dissertation > History, geography > African History > East Africa > Tanzania

The Conflict and Symbiosis Between the Natives and Colonist:the Development of Swahili Culture in Tanzania during1498-1964

Author WeiZuoZuo
Tutor LiXueTao
School Beijing Foreign Studies University
Keywords Swahili culture Swahili language colonialism Tanzania
CLC K425
Type PhD thesis
Year 2013
Downloads 56
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Swahili culture, a distinctive, open and compound culture created by the Swahili people living on the east coast of Africa, began to take form in the1st century under the influences of the Arabic, Persian and Indian cultures. Since the16th century, the colonial invasion has brought great changes to it, which began to interact and evolve with western culture. Generally speaking, as the power of western culture grows, it has become a key element in the evolvement of Swahili culture. Facing the colonial expansion and the impact of western culture, African people were powerless to resist so that Swahili culture went through a long process of decline and transformation. Following the chronological order of the evolvement of Swahili culture and the spread of colonialism, the essay has an in-depth analysis of how Swahili culture borrowed, assimilated and resisted foreign culture.The introduction consists of the definition of the concepts and geographical scope, the related studies into the history of Swahili culture, the significance, contents and research methods of this essay.The body of the essay is divided into five chapters. The first chapter discusses about the origin and formation of Swahili culture, the related controversies and the characteristics of the culture.The second chapter discusses about the influence of the Portuguese invasion into East Africa on Swahili culture. The destructive invasion broke the unity of Swahili and caused the decline of its culture, which had an extremely slow development long after the invasion.The third chapter is about the development of Swahili culture under the rule of the Oman Arab. In the18th century, Zanzibar being the center of the colonial rule, the Oman Arab controlled the trade between the coastal areas of east Africa and the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar, the very center of Swahili culture, thrived rapidly at that time. While western colonial states were stepping up their colonization in east Africa, the Arabic culture interacted with Swahili culture, having a greater influence on it.The fourth chapter is about the development of Swahili culture during the rule of Germany over Tanganyika. Instead of destructing Swahili culture, the Germans spread Swahili in their colony, which resulted in a rise in its popularity among the inland people. Meanwhile, the German authorities, with the collaboration of the European missionaries, had been contributing to the removal of Islamic influences on Swahili, resulting in a change in the relationship between Swahili culture and Islam.The last chapter discusses about the development and transformation of Swahili culture during the rule of Britain over Tanzania. The birth of standardized Swahili being the turning point, great changes have taken place in the traditional cultures, way of life and ideology of all peoples in Tanzania. The transformation of Swahili culture is a complicated process which is, on the one hand, progressive in nature for the cultural modernization, but on the other hand, destructive as the diversity of the cultural heritage was damaged. Despite all these facts, Swahili culture is of great significance in uniting the whole nation and promoting the decolonization in Tanzania.Looking back into the history, we can finally draw a conclusion that the reason why Swahili culture is so important in the nation-building of modern Tanzania is not just the result driven by the authorities, but the outcome of the evolvement of its culture.

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