The main purpose of the paper is to consider three sources about Swahili speaking community and to understand whether the arguments presented in those works support or contradict the ideas presented in the article The Shirazi in Swahili Traditions, Culture, and History by Thomas Spear written in 1984. The books under discussion are Being Maasai: Ethnicity & Identity in East Africa by Spear and Waller written in 1939, and two books written by Thomas Spear Mountain Farmers: Moral Economies of Land & Agricultural Development in Arusha & Meru (1997) and Traditions of Origin and Their Interpretation: the Mijikenda of Kenya (1981). Those books dwell upon the same peoples, but present different aspects of their life. The sources are useful as they consider the problem discussed in CRA source from different angles that helps understand and learn more about Swahili speaking community.
Spear and Waller dwell upon the Maasai peoples who inhabited the costs of Kenya and influenced other peoples on the territory, especially their language (28). The problem that exists on the territory of East Africa with the languages is decided in the following way, Rendille is spoken with Maa on the similar rights, while Swahili remains the language of government and some teachers at schools (Spear and Waller 288). The main idea of the book Mountain Farmers: Moral Economies of Land & Agricultural Development in Arusha & Meru is Maasai and their traditions in farming and the language peculiarities.
Thus, the author states that Swahili were the pioneers in trade on the territories belonged to Maasai and with the trading they brought new traditions and language which influenced the Maasai peoples. Thus, the author focused his attention on the dialects in Arusha and Meru and the impact of Swahili speaking peoples on their development (Spear “Mountain Farmers” 18). Spear in his book Traditions of Origin and Their Interpretation: the Mijikenda of Kenya dwells upon the traditions and mode of life Mijikenda peoples. The specific customs related to magic (different spells, charms and sacred places) are considered along with the history and the development of the Mijikenda (Spear “Traditions of Origin and Their Interpretation” 91). The book states that Mijikenda came from Swahili and this fact explains the similarity in the languages and the beliefs between those peoples (Spear “Traditions of Origin and Their Interpretation” 28).
Reading the book under consideration, it became more understandable for me that Swahili contributed to the customs and traditions of many other nations. Thus, Maasai, Rendille, and Mijikenda were influenced by Swahili. It is natural that while close contact people’s languages interfere into each other and the assimilation takes place.
Moreover, the cases of bilingual communities with Swahili as one of the languages also increase the Swahili-speaking community (Spear and Waller 288). Thus, it is important to read those books to understand why Swahili speaking community remains one of the largest in the African society. Several millions people speak this language as their native, at the same time much greater peoples speak this language as second and borrowed one. Moreover, it was interesting to understand that Swahili language managed to widespread its influence on many different regions of the Indian Ocean coastline.
Relating the sources under consideration to the CRA source, it is impossible to omit the fact that all these sources dwell upon the Swahili speaking community and the influence it provided on different peoples in the regions. Moreover, each source under consideration is related to the CRA source in a specific way. The book Mountain Farmers: Moral Economies of Land & Agricultural Development in Arusha & Meru like the CRA source dwells upon trading in different regions of the African continent which promoted the assimilation of Swahili language on those territories.
Spear and Waller speak about the same topic of languages influence, but touches the language problem which exists in the society because of the influence of Swahili language. The CRA source as well as the author of the book Traditions of Origin and Their Interpretation: the Mijikenda of Kenya consider the origin of Mijikenda and state its close relation to Swahili due to the great similarity in customs and languages of those two people. In conclusion it should be mentioned that the history of the languages development on the territory of the African continent is rather complicated and confusing.
The collaboration between numerous languages and cultures lead to many different consequences. Some cultures began to speak the most spread language, Swahili, because it was the most influential. Other used this language because of other reasons, still, many different peoples on the territory felt the impact of Swahili community both on their language and culture becoming either bilingual or using this language for granted. The sources under consideration helped understand the main idea of the CRA source better and provide additional arguments in the relation to Swahili speaking community.
Spear, Thomas T.
and Richard D. Waller. Being Maasai: Ethnicity & Identity in East Africa. Oxford: James Currey Publishers, 1993. Print. Spear, Thomas T. Mountain Farmers: Moral Economies of Land & Agricultural Development in Arusha & Meru.
California, CA: University of California Press, 1997. Print. Spear, Thomas T. Traditions of Origin and Their Interpretation: the Mijikenda of Kenya. Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1981.