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This book is the first full-length examination of the cultural politics at work in the act of translation in East Africa, providing close critical analyses of a variety of texts that demonstrate the myriad connections between translation and larger socio-political forces. Looking specifically at texts translated into Swahili, the book builds on the notion that translation is not just a linguistic process, but also a complex interaction between culture, history, and politics, and charts this evolution of the translation process in East Africa from the pre-colonial to colonial to post-colonial periods. It uses textual examples, including the Bible, the Qur’an, and Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, from five different domains – religious, political, legal, journalistic, and literary – and grounds them in their specific socio-political and historical contexts to highlight the importance of context in the translation process and to unpack the complex relationships between both global and local forces that infuse these translated texts with an identity all their own. This book provides a comprehensive portrait of the multivalent nature of the act of translation in the East African experience and serves as a key resource for students and researchers in translation studies, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, African studies, and comparative literature.
Alamin M. Mazrui is Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University. His publications include Power of Babel: Language and Governance in the African Experience (1998) (with Ali Mazrui), English in Africa: After the Cold War (2004), and Swahili beyond the Boundaries: Literature, Language and Identity (2007).