Mashairi (MS 47755a)

Material Information

Mashairi (MS 47755a)
Series Title:
Taylor Papers : Swahili Scripts and Transliterations
Ahmad bin Sheikh al-Mambassy ( Author, Primary )
Suud bin Said ( contributor )
Ghassaniy, Muyaka bin Haji, approximately 1776-1840 ( contributor )
Sikujua, Mwalimu ( contributor )
Publication Date:
Paper ( medium )
Handwritten manuscript : Black and red ink on this old paper; some parts are written in pencil


Subjects / Keywords:
Swahili poetry ( LCSH )
Swahili Literature ( LCSH )
Africa, East -- History ( LCSH )
East Africa -- History
Kiswahili mashairi
Afrika, Mashariki - Historia
Poetry ( LCTGM )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Kenya -- Mombasa County -- Eastern Africa -- Mombasa
-4.05466 x 39.66359


The first section of MS 47755, divided into sections A and B, contains a collection of short poems, Mashairi, with transliteration of some words on the side pages of the poems written in Arabic script. There is an index to the First line of each poem, however the poems are not to be found accordingly. Therefore it is not a real finding aid for readers. The poems discuss various aspects of life by means of metaphors. For instance, the first poem is about a man who sent his messenger (could mean his slave) to a religious teacher to ask for advice. The third poem is of a man who is complaining to God about people gossiping behind his back. The sixth poem is by Muhammad b. Ahmad b.Shiekh al-Mambassy addressed to the poet Suud b. Said during the time when Al-Akida was governing Fort Jesus, in Mombasa. The two poets were planning to overthrow Al-Akida. Most authors of the poems are not mentioned. The final poems are short oral poems that open with ‘Qala Shairi’, i.e. ‘The Poet said’. The very last poems are a short poem by Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy about the value of friendship, and the poem ‘Shairi la Washona-nguo’ that has already been described in MS 47757. ( en )
General Note:
Biographical information: Both authors were very well-known poets and leading cultural and political figure in Mombasa at the end of the 19th century. -- Muyaka bin Haji lived in Mombasa between AD 1776-1840, and was one of the most outstanding poets of the mashairi genre. According to Abdulaziz (1979) Muyaka wrote some 150 poems of popular Swahili poetry, and the themes of his poetry touch on the cultural and political life of his community of that time.
General Note:
Date of Composition is unknown
General Note:
Languages: Swahili (Arabic script)
General Note:
Dialects: KiMvita
General Note:
Poetic Form: Shairi
General Note:
Extent: 57 leaves
General Note:
Incipit: Angusha mwao risala, tutangamuwe juhusi wenende na masala
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Ghassaniy, Muyaka bin Haji, approximately 1776-1840 : URI
General Note:
Africa -- Eastern Africa -- Kenya -- Mombasa County -- Mombasa
General Note:
Scribe: Sikujua, Mwalimu
General Note:
Publication information: Hinawy, Mbarak Ali (ed). 1950. Al-Akida and Fort Jesus, Mombasa: the life-history of Muhammad bin Adbullah bin Mbarak Bakhashweini, with the songs and poems of his time. London: Macmillan.
General Note:
Publication information: Hichens, W. 1940. Diwani ya Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
General Note:
Publication information: Abdulaziz, M.H. 1979 (repr.1994). Muyaka 19th century Swahili Popular Poetry. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi.
General Note:
Frankl, P J & Yahya A Omar. 1994. Shairi la Washona-Nguo wa Mambasa. The Taylors of Mombasa, A nineteenth century satire from central Swahili-land. AAP 37:29-46, Koln, Germany

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
Archives and Special Collections
Rights Management:
This item is believed to be in the public domain
Resource Identifier:
MS 47755 ( SOAS manuscript number )
MS 47755a ( SOAS manuscript number )