"Like a Fish Taking Itself onto the Hook: Artistic and Scholarly Creativity under Political Oppression"<br>Abdilatif Abdalla Poetry Reading
Abdilatif Abdalla was born in Mombasa, Kenya, in 1946 to a renowned literary family and began composing poetry as a teenager. After publishing a political pamphlet questioning the direction in which Jomo Kenyatta was guiding the country, he was imprisoned for three years.
While in jail, he composed what is universally considered Kenya's masterpiece of poetry: Sauti ya Dhiki ("Voice of Agony"), for which he would later receive the inaugural 'Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature'—named after the man who imprisoned him in solitary confinement for three years.
Upon his release from prison in 1972 he left Kenya and worked at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Swahili Service of the BBC in London. He later held academic appointments teaching Swahili at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and, most recently, the University of Leipzig in Germany. He retired in 2011.
This event is presented by the African Studies Center and the Institute for the Humanities with additional support from the University Library and the Helen Zell Visiting Writers Series.