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Rettová, Alena (2018) 'Swahili and Swahili poetry in Lubumbashi: The language and lyrics of Sando Marteau.' Archív Orientální, 86 (3). pp. 333-362.

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The article introduces the singer and poet from Lubumbashi, known under the artistic name of Sando Marteau, and presents some of the poet’s lyrics. These texts serve as the basis of an exposition of the variety of Swahili spoken in Katanga, “Lubumbashi Swahili” or “Katanga/Shaba Swahili”. This article presents several songs with translations into English and lists those linguistic features in them that are common in or even specific to "Lubumbashi Swahili". Sando Marteau’s songs show the broad spectrum of the linguistic continuum of “Lubumbashi Swahili”. While many songs remain close to “Swahili bora”, a variety of Congolese Swahili close to the East African “Standard Swahili”, other songs freely employ “Lubumbashi Swahili”. This distinction reflects the artist’s conscious choice; indeed, he opts for “Lubumbashi Swahili” especially in songs expressive of local cultural contexts. A further interesting feature of Sando Marteau’s Swahili is his idiosyncratic disjunctive orthography, different from how the languages is written in East Africa and in the DRC. In terms of lexicon, Sando Marteau’s Swahili avoids the practice of code-switching that is otherwise exceedingly common in the Katanga region. A proper understanding of Sando Marteau’s language facilitates an appreciation of the beauty and power of his poetry.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > Centre of African Studies
School Research Centres > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISSN: 00448699
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 10:20

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