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SEALLF 2021 Abstracts

South East African Languages and Literature Forum Fall 2021 Virtual Conference

SEALLF Fall 2021 Presentation Abstracts, in Alphabetical Order



Author:  Dr. Aisha Umar Adamu

Title:  “Neither Here nor There:” Hausa Perception of ‘Yan Daudu in the Light of Akilu Aliyu’s Poem

Abstract:  Questions concerning gender are always marred with series of controversies. This could be due to the fact that gender and everything that comes with it is central to our being. In a society like Hausa, where gender distinction has become a norm, everything is majored in male and female, just like plain black and white; ranging from the language itself, how to communicate using the language, how to dress and walk to when to speak or be silent. In such kind of a heterosexual society, there exist a small population of people who fall into neither of the two categories. The pimps or cross dressers called ‘Yan Daudu’, described by Gaudio (2009) as ‘men who act like women publicly and are seen as such’. Meanwhile, a famous Hausa poet and also a reformist Akilu Aliyu has in his erudite collections a poem titled ‘Dan Daudu’ which was built on a vehement dismissal of ‘yan daudu and their manner of behaviour and expression, a perception Gaudio (2009) sees as ‘transforming a personal emotional response into edifying public text’. But, to what extent is Akilu Aliyu’s poem a real representation of the Hausa people’s true ideology regarding gender and sexuality?
Keywords: ‘Yan Daudu, Hausa, gender, sexuality



AuthorDr. Damola Adesina and Dr. Tunde Adegbola

Title:  Engaging the Multiple Layers of Meaning in Yoruba Orature

Abstract:  Orature describes a body of text preserved through the processes of memorization and recitation. It serves an essential purpose of knowledge management, enabling knowledge transmission over space and time within as well as between cultures. A vital feature of orature is fulfilled by the need to say things in ways the hearer would not forget easily. This calls for brevity and the use of wide variety of poetic devices. To fulfil these objectives of brevity and poetics, oratural texts usually manifest multiple layers of complementary meanings which also give the texts a multiplicity of complementary functions. This study collects and examines the multi-layered meanings embedded in some Yoruba oratural texts and thereby demonstrates a need for the re-examination of the complementarity between orature and literature. The multimedia facilities of modern information Communication technology (ICT) and the possibility they offer for building texts into a form of hypermedia suggest a vitality in mixing the traditional use of orature and the modern use of literature. This holds potentials as bases for synergizing orature and literature in contemporary Yoruba scholarship and other knowledge management endeavours.
Keywords: Orature Multimedia Hypermedia



Author:   Dr. Timothy T. Ajani

Title:  Teaching an African Language in the Age of Covid: Challenges and Remedies

Abstract:  That the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused a huge disruption to our normal day to day lives is an indisputable fact. That it has had an enormous impact on teaching and learning in general, and on the pedagogy of foreign languages, particularly the so-called less commonly taught languages, is even more true. This paper addresses how the ongoing pandemic has impacted Yoruba language pedagogy at an HBCU, and how the former has, and continues to manage to survive, in spite of the disruption occasioned by the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic ravaging the nation and our world. The paper explores some of the challenges encountered at the onset of the pandemic, and over the subsequent academic semesters, as well as some of the remedies brought to bear upon the situation.



Author:  Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu

Title:  Understanding Hausa Culture Through Numbers: An Ethnomathematical Perspective

Abstract:  This paper is an analysis of the philosophical use of numbers by the Hausa people. Like every society, the Hausa people have their own system of counting that starts from one to ten, from where repetition and reduplication starts. Within the count of one to ten, there contains the cultural beliefs, philosophy and experiences of the Hausa people. This paper is premised within the concept of Ethnomathematics advocated by D’Ambrosio (1995). Ethnomathematics is the study of mathematical practices of specific cultural groups in the course of dealing with their environmental problems and activities. I argue in this paper that understanding the use of numbers by the Hausa people, apart from mere act of counting, will assist in understanding their philosophy and worldview. Numbers in Hausa counting carry with them concepts that can only be deciphered or encoded when we are able to understand the stories behind their use and application.
Keywords: Hausa counting system, philosophy, Ethnomathematics, Hausa culture



Author:  Ms. Maria Carolina Almeida de Azevedo

Title:  English vs. Pretuguês (Black Portuguese): Which is worth more?

Abstract:  Why is the student who can speak the phoneme “th”, as in “theater”, applauded and the one who exchanges the “L” for the “R” when speaking “Framengo” is demonized? Why are the influences of African languages in our language subordinated, even being part of our linguisticr oots, while the traits of modern languages – and here I restrict myself to the English language – are exalted? In this paper I intend to analyze how the influence of African languages (Castro, 1983) and the standard English language in the Brazilian Portuguese, called by Lélia González (1988) “Pretuguês”, are seen and hierarchized in the educational system (Pennycook,1988), starting from the historical, social and political process in which they appear in our society, passing through the processes of colonial violence experienced in language teaching (Thiong’o,2011) and , at the end, I intend to analyze , by the bases of linguistic racism (Nascimento, 2019) and critical racial literacy (Ferreira, 2006), how this analysis is present in the current educational context and how language teachers can work to fight against the maintenance of this violent process of standardized knowledges and cultures, building bridges with inclusive and critical pedagogical practices.



Author:  Dr. Adaora L. Anyachebelu

Title:  Identity and Code Alternation in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Abstract:  Language is a vehicle for communication. Most of Nigerian literary authors, including Achebe, write in the English language as against their indigenous languages. Some of such authors, in the course of their works make use of loans from their indigenous languages as writing in foreign languages could serve as platform for language and cultural extinction; although it makes for wider readership. The concern of this study is to investigate the place of indigenous loans in the exportation of language and culture in literature. The objectives include to identify and abstract the Igbo words and expressions employed by Achebe; explain the meanings of the loans; identify the rationale behind the essence of such loans beside stylistics and aesthetics; identify their implications in the development and sustenance of the Igbo language and culture. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was purposively selected for this study. The novel was carefully read and the Igbo loans in it abstracted for analysis. The analysis reveal that Achebe made preponderant use of Igbo loans in the novel; that most of the Igbo loans are greetings, names and cultural elements. The analysis further reveals that the essence of the inclusion of such loans beyond literary aesthetic/ stylistics is for Achebe to consciously take his foreign audience on a journey into his rich cultural heritage; hence exporting and exposing of Igbo languages and culture to other to the wider society. Such action will aid in the preservation and sustenance of Igbo language and culture.
Key Words: Code-mixing, Code-switching, Igbo novels, Loans and stylistics.



Author:  Dr. Raphael Birya

Title:  The Question Surrounding Pedagogical Technology Instruction: A content Analysis of YouTube Videos for Teaching Swahili as a Foreign Language

Abstract:  The growth and development of Web and media platforms instruction for foreign languages employing pedagogical technology have increased. The acceleration is explained by the voluminous language content found on the websites and social media platforms. Though people learn Swahili through these avenues, the question surrounding the instructions is whether the communicative language teaching approach (CLT) components are considered. This study validates the integration of those elements in the teaching of Swahili through the online approaches at different levels. The study uses content of Swahili teaching YouTube Videos by Swahili Language School in Tanzania, SwahiliPod101.com, and LangMedia from 2016-2020 to see if the components of the CLT are observed during the instruction. The outcomes will inform instructors of possible approaches to help learners use such content appropriately and add to the body of literature in this area.
Keywords: Web Instructors (WI), Media platforms, communicative Language Teaching Approach (CLT) Pedagogical Technology (PT).



Author:  Dr. Samba Camara

Title:  Music in/as Afropolitan Tongue

Abstract:  Building on Achille Mbembe’s notion of Afropolitanism, which he defines as an ethic of “being in the world”, and Karin Barber’s study of performance as a carrier of text, this paper examines how morally inflected Senegalese rappers use lyrical performance as an alternative language with which they create and deploy contemporary metaphors of ethical personhood, or nite in Wolof. Drawing on the aesthetic and content analysis of selected rap songs, the paper argues that Islam-infused Senegalese rap is not just an artistic form of Muslim self-representation, but that, through constant decoding and recoding of Sufi-Islamic ethical discourse, it constitutes a performative technique of navigating tension and of negotiating peace across religious, ethnic, and class margins.



Author:  Dr. Guillaume Coly

Title:  The Filmic Language of Silence in Alain Gomis’s Tey/Today (2012)

Abstract:  As I discuss Gomis’s use of silence in Tey, I trace its universalist, or at least inclusive, dimension and potential for transcending linguistic and cultural divides. Drawing on Laura Marks’ conceptualization of haptic visuality, I address how the relegation of oral communication in the background forefronts other senses: the sense of touch. In analyzing Gomis’ deployment of silence in Tey remains all the more relevant as main character Satché’s silence, I argue, echoes the director’s own resolutely unexplanatory and non-didactic stance, which are staples of his approach to filmmaking.



Author:  Dr. Jazmin Graves

Title:  “Sina Watoto Mbani. I Have No Children at Home:” Preserving East African Language and Culture in Western India

Abstract:  Sidis, or Indians of East African ancestry, living in the state of Gujarat in western India have navigated the interstices of marginalized intersectional identities. Sidis face anti-black racism, the exoticization and exploitation of their African cultural song and dance performances, and violent targeting based on their religious identity as Muslims. Nevertheless, Sidis’ reverence for their ancestral saints – African Sufis who settled in India in the fourteenth century – provides the foundation for resilience and the proud preservation of their East African heritage. This paper surveys the survival of Swahili in the devotional songs and spoken language of Sidis, many of whose ancestors arrived in Gujarat in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries largely (but not exclusively) via Indian Ocean networks of trade in enslaved captives. Sidi devotional songs, sacred musical instruments, ecstatic dances, and ritual practices are non-written mediums that have allowed for the perpetuation of East African languages, cultural forms, and spiritual healing modalities in western India over the centuries. Just as the East African musical performance and spiritual healing traditions of Sidi Goma have transformed as they have become enrooted in the multivalent religio-cultural landscape of western India, elements of the Swahili language that Sidis have preserved are inflected by the Indic languages that are the mother tongues of this Afrodescendant community. This paper surveys the parallel preservation and transformation of East African linguistic elements, religious cosmologies, and (forced) labor migration histories in the Sidi Sufi devotional tradition of Gujarat.



Author:  Dr. Anne Jebet

Title:  Narrating Female Friendships and Sisterhood in The River and the Source

Abstract:  Female bonds and solidarity have long been catalysts for support and empowerment, and a space for women to nurture each other. While there are challenges that threaten women’s relationships, women always “appropriate and refashion oppressive spaces through friendship, sisterhood and solidarity and in the process reinvent themselves (Nnaemeka, 1997,p19). This paper will discuss how sisterhood is exemplified in Ogola’s text, The River and the Source and how solidarity helped women navigate through patriarchal institutions, challenges of living during colonialism and life in post-independent Kenya. I argue that even though Ogola did not ascribe herself as a feminist, she highlights female solidarity in her text that contributes to the understanding of African feminisms. I discuss the contradictory relationships that exist between women, especially those who disempower other women, and the inherent tensions that cause estrangement among women. More, importantly, I examine the silenced stories of women in the periphery and also how Ogola uses language to give voice to the experiences of women in her society.



Author:  Dr. Aliyu Kamal

Title:  Reading the Modern Hausa Novel

Abstract: The paper discusses how reading the Modern Hausa Novel in English, which is multidisciplinary and entertaining, will greatly afford the reader the opportunity to contribute towards achieving positive change in Nigeria. The preoccupations of Hausa characters in the Hausa Novel are bound to religious precepts and founded on communalism both of which affect the relations holding between them. The English language, as a vehicle of literary expression, offers a great deal of stylistic devices to the Hausa Novel, as shown in the analysis of twelve novels written over an eleven-year period.
Key words: Hausa, manners, culture, novel, short stories, gender warfare, Islam



Author:  Mr. Nkosenathi Ernie Koela

Title:  Seeds of the Braced Bow (The Flower, the Seed and the Bee)

Abstract:  The etymology of the root word ‘Ngoma’ is found amongst many tribes and regions in southern, central and West Africa. Janzen (1992) argued that Ngoma is a proto-Bantu cognate within which exists an ecology of related institutions such as the practice of medicine, divination, crafts, music, and ritual. The consciousness of Ngoma exists outside of the borders of Africa and is therefore not limited to one homogenous idea. The concept of ‘Ngoma’ is fluid and dynamic; however it has a set of archetypes and perceptible markers that make it recognizable. It is these markers and conditions that this paper seeks to understand. Through using the journey of the centrally-braced musical bow through Africa and Asia, we will uncover the sages of African Ngoma and elaborate on their practices arguing that a consciousness underpins the science, mechanics, crafts, and philosophy of African instrumentalism. This is done through the gaze of an apprentice with a focus on the instrumentalist as alchemist, sonic healer, and cultural treasure, pointing to the reality of a rich shared pre-colonial history between Afro-Asia through the making of the musical bow.



Author:  Dr. Esther Mukewa Lisanza

Title:  Leave no one Behind: An Examination of Gender Equality in Margaret Ogola’s Place of Destiny

Abstract:  This paper examines gender equality in Margaret Ogola’s Place of Destiny. This paper is guided by African feminism theoretical framework which depicts African women as resilient, decision makers, and innovative agents in their precise contexts. The framework also argues that the liberation of women in the society is everybody’s responsibility. And more importantly, the empowerment of women does not necessarily mean the disempowerment of men in the society. Ogola’s ideal female characters are movers in the society. They make decisions at the family level, community level, and also at the workplace. They also respect other people’s ideas and more importantly, they empower other women and men that they come across in their paths. These female characters are therefore leaders in the society in the true sense.



Author:  Dr. Rose Lugano

Title:  Appropriating Form and Content for Effective Communication: An examination of The Poem of Mwana Kupona and Moolaade

Abstract:  The relationship between Form and content has been a subject of hot debates in literary criticism since Plato to Marxism . The pioneer criticisms were focused largely on poetry, the popular genre of that time. According to Abrams simplified definition ‘content’ means what is said and ‘form’ the way it is said (2007, 107). The inseparability and reciprocity of form and content is very strong in African literature and many a times goes beyond to incorporate effective communication because of the emphasis on creative functionality. In other words, writers select to create in the most effective form for the message they plan to convey, while considering variables like history, culture, time frame, target audience and etc. Even though today there exists many different sub-genres of prose, poetry and drama, the interwoven relationship between form and content is still applicable for effective communication. This paper seeks to examine how creative producers skillfully select the form for their creative work to produce the most effective communication mode for their objectives to their targeted audience. I will specifically focus on The Poem of Mwana Kupona (1864) and Moolaade (2004), a movie by Sembene Ousmane.



Author:  Dr. Dainess Maganda

Title:  Is Your Language Better Than Mine? Says Who? Promoting Cultural And Language Diversity In World Languages Classes

Abstract:  In the 21st century, intercultural perspectives in education seeking to foster a sense of understanding and interaction between various cultures around the world have become the norm. This paper examines ideas regarding the meaning and role of language ideology in the quest to promote linguistic diversity in today’s world, starting with classrooms. The author offers practical ideas on how teachers in general, and specifically teachers of world languages, culture and literature can cultivate an appreciation for varied languages in their classrooms and underscore ways to help students see the interaction between language, culture, literature through an intercultural education perspective. The author will also highlight challenges teachers are likely to face while offering ideas to address them.



Author:  Dr. Aishatu Shehu Maimota

Title:  Literature at Your Fingertips: The Rise of Online Hausa Novels

Abstract:  Literature is a reflection of the people’s way of life through the author’s expression. It usually reflects the socio-cultural condition of any given society, often embracing changes, innovations and current happenings. With the coming of internet, literature is now shifting from word to web. Hausa literature has not been left behind as it always goes with global changes and development. This paper traces the rise of Hausa Online Novels, its strengths and weaknesses coupled with its impact on the readership and Hausa society in general. This research was conducted through interview with Hausa fiction writers comprising both online novel writers and published novel writers, readers and governmental officials responsible for censoring any kind of Hausa Literature. The paper identifies that Hausa novels has now been confined within mobile phones through internet. The paper realizes that the introduction of online Hausa novels has impacted the production and sales of Hausa published novels. The research discovers that online Hausa novels may exist for longer time becouse they were written by the youth and mostly read by them also. The research discovers that the online Hausa novels has been accepted by both governmental and non governmental organisations, as well as international organisations like BBC Hausa, the online Hausa authors emerge as the winners of ‘Hikayata’ (Hausa short stories writing competition, organised annually by BBC Hausa ). This paper also traces some weaknesses concerning those online Hausa novels, among which is orthographical errors, use of vulger language and dirty talks resulting from lack of censoring by the qualified agencies. Lastly the paper highlights suggestions to such problems.
Key words: Online novels, literature, Hausa Novels.



Author:  Dr. Martha Michieka

Title:  The Role/ Place of African Languages in Modernization as Portrayed in Margaret Ogola’s The River and the Source and its sequel I swear by Apollo

Abstract:  This study analyzes the language choices Margaret Ogola makes in two of her works and draws inferences from those choices about attitudes towards African indigenous languages. Although both The River and the Source and its sequel I swear by Apollo are published during the late 20th- early 21 century, the plots of these works combined span several years ranging from the late 19th C to the present. The River and the Source covers a period of more than one hundred years and about five generations beginning in the late 1800s all the way into the late 1990s and beyond, while its sequel is set “ in the dawn of the 21st century”. During this time period, many changes take place not just in the novel but in the Kenyan nation as a whole, including change in culture, traditions, politics and upheld religious practices. Linguistic changes are also experienced as the country transitions from the pre-colonial period to the colonial and post-colonial eras. This study focuses on the changes in the Kenyan language policies and how those changes are reflected in the language choices the author makes for each historical era covered. The study addresses the following questions: How do Ogola’s literary works reflect the changing language policies in Kenya’s history? What can we infer from Ogola’s language choice about our beliefs concerning the role and place of African languages in modernization and globalization? I argue that while the language used in the texts is unique to the time period, the choices the author makes reflect community beliefs about the role or lack thereof of our indigenous languages in modernization.



Author:  Dr. Leonard Muaka

Title: Language, Activism and Political Discourse in Margaret Ogola’s Mandate of the People

Abstract:  This paper will focus on Margaret Ogola’s text, Mandate of the People that was published in 2012 posthumously. I will analyze the political discourse as employed in the text. Particularly I analyze how language among other aspects is used in political manipulation of the voters to exclude and/or include them, during the electioneering period and the ills of a post-independent nation. Also analyzed are topics on activism, power, and sociopolitical change and their interplay with language as a tool.



Author:  Dr. Mohamed Mwamzandi

Title:  A Corpus Study of the Swahili Applicative

Abstract:  Several works discuss the morphology, syntax, and semantics of the applicative in Bantu languages. An example of a semantic and syntactic role of an applicative is to license the occurrence of an argument as a direct object as illustrated in (1):

(1) Adili a-li-ya-geuk-i-a manyani

NC1Adili NC1SM-PST-NC6OM-turn-APPL-FV baboons

‘Adili turned to the apes’

(2) *Adili a-li-ya-geuk-a manyani

NC1Adili NC1SM-PST-NC6OM-turn-APPL-FV baboons

In (1), the NP manyani ‘baboons’ is licensed by the applicative {i} to occur as a direct object after the verb aliyageukia. The example in (2) is ungrammatical because the root without the applicative {I} cannot allow the occurrence of NP manyani ‘baboons’ as a direct object. The Swahili applicative is a morphological aspect that students learn during the intermediate and advanced levels. In this study, I explore the Swahili applicative via corpus analysis. The study will help Swahili (and other Bantu languages) second language learners and instructors understand and learn/teach the applicative constructions.



Author:  Dr. Ousmane Ngom

Title:  From Ajāmi to Latin: When Writing Systems Define Wolof Literature

Abstract:  Senegal has a rich tradition of written literature in the Wolof language, which is produced in two different systems of writing. The first is called Ajāmi, which is a heritage of Islamization and consists of the scholarly use of the Arabic alphabet in transcribing other languages – including Wolof. The second system draws from Latin characters, which is a colonial heritage of the French school. The two systems translate two civilizations, two different modes of thought, knowledge, and skills that are observable in the literary genres, forms, and themes produced by the authors based on their respective trainings. Regardless of the differences, however, both writing systems draw from Wolof oral tradition and constitute forms of promoting Wolof language and literature. This paper postulates that the use of Western alphabet has had significant impacts on (modern?) Wolof literature. First, the paper identifies aspects of divergence born in the foreign influences on Wolof literature. Then, it describes aspects of originality in Wolof literature that transcend systems of writing. Lastly, the paper shows how (modern) Wolof literature has flourished as a result of the literary trade between the Ajāmi and Latin systems.



Author:  Dr. Ameera Nimjee

Title:  Bhulivya! Performing Indo-African Migration through a Language Game

Abstract:  Since the 1400s, South Asians have been moving between Southeast Africa and the Indian subcontinent as indentured servants, laborers, and merchants along trade routes. Encompassing a diverse group of caste, uncaste, religious, and ethno-linguistic communities, South Asians fit into liminal racialized spaces that both perpetuate and resist coloniality in Southeast Africa. The Khojas, a caste community of Gujarati (mostly Ismaili) Muslim merchants, migrated to then Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, South Africa, Malagasy, and Zaire during the second half of the nineteenth century, and subsisted in Khoja and largely Asian “colonies” in which “native” languages of Gujarati, Kutchi, and Sindhi took on new forms as they became imbued with Swahili and Indo-East African praxis. Though Ismailis remain visible minorities in East Africa today, many left in the 1970s to seek new homes in the UK and Canada. In this paper, I evaluate the complex ways in which Khoja Ismailis of this migrational history perform connections—both real and imagined—with East Africa, through a virtual language association game. Titled Bhulivya!, meaning “Forgot it!” in Kutchi, the game is similar to the boxed party game Taboo, but is designed for play on Zoom. Sharing aspects of the game-play, interviews with its creators, and data and feedback following its 2020 release, I show how the game performs a connection with the Indo-African experience while also preserving the Kutchi language—both of which are memorialized among Khoja Ismailis in Canada today.



Author:  Dr. Giwa Omolola and Dr. Martha Michieka

Title:  From Things Fall Apart to Caitaani Mutharaba- Ini: A look at the diverse ways of expressing African Languages, Cultures, and Literature

Abstract:  What exactly is African literature and what role do the various languages used play in determining what is African and what is not? What language best communicates our cultures and our Africanness? In his essay “English and the African Writer” Achebe argues that “You cannot cram African literature into a small, neat definition. I do not see African literature as one unit but as a group of associated units-in fact, the sum total of all the national and ethnic literatures of Africa”(343). Achebe further talks about what he considers to be national literature. In his view, a national literature is one “that is available to other ethnic groups”. Ngugi on the other hand argues that “African Literature can only be written in African languages” (27). These two great and pioneer African authors leave us with challenging questions. Does Achebes’s work which is written in English still count as African literature? And how about Ngugi’s Caitaani Mutharaba- Ini? Can that count as national literature? Using Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Ngugi wa Thiongo’s The Devil on the Cross, a translation of his Caitaani Mutharaba- Ini, this paper analyzes how these authors use language to express the African philosophical reality and the African oral tradition in different ways: Achebe relying on English but making the English his own, while Ngugi relies on translation to reach the nation and a wider audience.