the case of the Swahili's self identification as washirazi (which itself was mostly in opposition to Omani era arabisation) is subject to all kinds of controversy, but it wasn't meant to be taken literary, its more about (Islamic) genealogy than "ethnic reality"

so when Skip Gates sarcastically quipped about the Swahili "washirazis" that he found in Zanzibar looking "about as Persian as Mike Tyson"
he was speaking from the western understanding of race & genealogy, but African understanding of genealogy is as heterodox as its complex
written in 1986 👇🏾 (before Horton's groundbreaking discoveries at shanga) but its conclusions have stood the test of time

taken from pgs 32-35

Horn and Crescent: Cultural Change and Traditional Islam on the East African Coast, 800-1900
Randall L. Pouwels…
more intriguingly, should b why the people of the capital of a powerful trans-oceanic Arab state would refer to themselves as Persian instead of Arab

its simple: it was in opposition to the Omanis, but done without jeopardizing their "Muslim credentials"

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More from @rhaplord

25 Nov
late 19th cent.
embroidered cotton tunics from the kingdom of dahomey, republic of Benin

-quai branly


"Dahomey cloth woven of both cotton and raffia constituted the finest weaving, both from the point of
view of technical excellence and of design" ImageImageImageImage
Weavers were mostly male while dyers and spinners were women, they included both Fon weavers and Yoruba immigrants, they used vertical and ground looms, embroidering was dominated by yoruba weavers who served both the domestic market and exported large amounts of cloth to brazil
Dyeing was done using indigo and potash, other colors such as red and black were achieved using sorghum stalks, imported silks were also woven into cloths
dahomey weavers incorporated styles from the Muslim north, the Akan to its west, the Yorubalands to its east
Read 5 tweets
14 Nov
My article:

"Science and technology in African history; Astronomy, Mathematics, Medicine and Metallurgy in pre-colonial Africa"

included; African scientific manuscripts, engineering feats in transport, and the world's astronomical observatory building…
"African metallurgy begun in the third millennium BC and the early 1st millennium BC for both copper-alloys and iron
high quality iron made by the Swahili in Mombasa (Kenya) was exported to south India as reported by al-Idrisi in the 12th century"…
"gold was refined in the old city of essouk in mali upto 99% purity
ife artists fashioned naturalistic sculptures using pure copper
across the continent, African artists used lost-wax casting, repousse and riveting to make sophisticated artworks"…
Read 15 tweets
8 Sep
Ut̪end̪i wa Mwana Kupona (The Poem of Mwana
written by Mwana Kupona, a swahili woman from lamu, Kenya

written for the education of her daughter; Mwana Hashima binti Sheikh, on how to be an upstanding woman in swahili society

-Berlin State Library ImageImage
Mwana Kupona was the wife of Bwana Mat̪aka, the ruler of Siyu
she was one of several notable swahili female scholars
and was a contemporary of the famous 19th century west-african poetess, Nana Asmau

this 102-verse poem is still recited by both young and newlywed swahili women in east africa
and is one among the dozens of extant poems of the "utendi genre" from the 16th-19th century -which made up the bulk of "secular" swahili literature
Read 4 tweets
27 Jul
"How can we reconcile Museveni’s political thought with his political practice, One way to read Uganda’s predicament is as a dialogue between Museveni’s ideas and the international economic order which confronted him"

“A multiparty system in an industrialised society is likely to be national, while in a preindustrial society its likely to be sectarian”

"That self-serving logic underpinned Museveni’s view that the wrong sort of democracy, too soon, threatens cohesion and hinders modernisation"
"Museveni initially resisted IMF structural adjustment, but 191% inflation, foreign aid funding half of gov't, he changed course"

“In his search for the new Jerusalem, he went to the precipice, peered over the edge and didn't like what he saw, That is why he will never go back.”
Read 7 tweets
22 Jul
664BC "Dream Stela" of Kushite king/Egyptian pharaoh Tanwetamani

-nubian museum

The stela narrates Tanwetamani's "restoration of the double kingdom of Kush and Egypt from the condition of chaos " after he'd defeated Necho I and the delta & sais chiefs in 664BC Image
Originally erected in the Jebel Barkal temple in sudan and written in hieroglyphic by a scribe from napata, this dream stela emulated the language of Piye's 'Great Triumphal Stela (Piye was a kushite king who conquered Egypt and established the 25th dynasty in 760BC)
But this fragile peace was short-lived as the Assyrians under Assurbanipal invaded Egypt again in 664 and sacked Thebes
upper Egypt remained loyal to Tanwetamani until 656BC when Psamtik's daughter was adopted as the "God's wife of Amun" elect by the reigning Kushite princes thus
Read 4 tweets
18 Jul
quite misleading, this is both correct and incorrect

-correct b'se the longitudes 10° to 20° were the first in subsaharan africa to be entirely filled up by states (1300s Mali to Ethiopia)

-incorrect b'se Aksum/Ethiopia, Kerma/Kush/Makuria and Kanem were aligned north to south ImageImageImage
even more misleading when you consider that the pre-sokoto states of nothern nigeria eg zaria and borgu were aligned north-south as well including the more southerly yoruba states like Oyo Image
rather than geography and other reductive explanations (à la jared diamond), a better explanation for the west-east alignment of Ghana, Mali and Songhai was the control of the Senegal & Niger river valleys which were by then the most populous and productive regions in west africa ImageImage
Read 6 tweets

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