Urdu as an African Language: A Survey of a Source Literature

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Abstract:

This article provides the first survey of the development of Urdu literature in Africa, with a particular emphasis on East and South Africa. Dealing with the colonial and postcolonial periods, the survey encompasses the early evolution of Indian settler descriptions of Africa before moving on to the range of other genres of African Urdu, including travel writing, hagiography, poetry, and historiography. While in many cases these sources display Islamic cultural and religious concerns, other texts were written by non- Muslim settlers from Punjab. The emergence of these source materials is placed in its historical contexts, particularly colonial South Asian labor and merchant migration and settlement in Africa. Where possible, the Urdu sources are compared to sources in Gujarati and other regional languages.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5192/215409930302173

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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