How Poetry as A Dual Genre Draws its Themes from the Author’s Origin, History and Setting: A Case Study of Two Selected Kiswahili Poetry Books

  • Kibigo Mary Lukamika, PhD Tom Mboya University College
Keywords: Literature, Oral Literature, Written Literature, Poetry, Poems, Dual Genre, Setting, Culture, Origin, Philosophy, Ideology, Tradition, Purposive Sampling, Hermeneutics Theory, History
Share Article:


The study explores how poetry as a dual genre draws its themes from the origin, history and setting or environs of the author in the society. Basically, literature like any other art has its own way of expressing its aesthetic value. This is done through the channel of language. On the other hand, literature has many genres. Despite that, poetry is considered to be the most ancient genre in many communities universally. Poetry, therefore, is a genre that has a dual nature, which implies that it is a genre of both oral and written literature. Kiswahili poetry encompasses itself fully with the society in question, its ideologies, philosophies, traditions, culture, and the general life of the Swahili people without taking into consideration the language in which it was constructed. Therefore, it is not possible to disassociate the Kiswahili poetry from their culture as it is fully drawn from their way of life. Since a people’s culture is enclosed in their language, this study selected two Kiswahili Poetry books through purposive sampling to show how poetry draws its themes from the author’s origin, history, setting, and culture. The selected books were: Sikate Tamaa (Said A. Mohamed) and Dhifa (Euphrase Kezilahabi) The study employed the Hermeneutics theory as interpreted by (Newmark and Michael Forster, 2007) . This theory was very vital to this study as it puts into consideration the words used, the history and culture of the author, context, and specific analysis of the text to come up with the objective of the general text. The study also used textual analysis as well as an observation checklist to analyse data. The study discovered that poetry is rich and has a lot to be desired as far as teaching and depicting the author’s origin, history, and setting in the society is concerned hence drawing the themes from that. This study aimed at highlighting the need for more in-depth research as this can reduce the negative notion that poetry is a hard and complicated genre to some learners and scholars. There is also a need for the poetry learners to identify the history of the author in order to provide a starting point for the analysis in question. Therefore, the study proposes that poems be taught at all levels of learning and their various elements in order to enlighten the Kiswahili and English students, scholars, and researchers.


Download data is not yet available.


Abdalla, A. (1973). Sauti ya Dhiki. Nairobi. Oxford Universuty Press.

Abedi, K. (1954). Sheria za Kutunga Mashairi na Diwani ya Amri. Nairobi: Kenya Literature Bureau.

Ahmed, A. H (2020). ‘Ushairi na Utamaduni’ Makala katika jarida la Swahili Studies’, Vol.1, 2020 uk. 2-5, Kenya: Chuo Kikuu cha Pwani.

Born, W. (1986). The aesthetic of visual poetry. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Heidegger, M. (1971). The Origin of the Work of Art. In, Poetry, Language, Thought, by Heidegger, M.

Indede, F. N. (2008). Mabadiliko katika Umbo la Ushairi na Athari zake katika Ushairi wa Kiswahili. Swahili Forum 15: 73-94

Kariuki, G. J. (2017). ‘Jinsi Kazi za Fasihi Zinaakisi Historia na Mazingira ya Mtunzi’ katika Jarida la Lugha na Fasihi katika Karne ya Ishirini na Moja, uk. 167-185. Eldoret: Chuo Kikuu cha Moi.

Kezilahabi, E. (2008). Dhifa. (Vol. 13). Nairobi: Vide-Muwa Publishers.

Kezilahabi, E. (1973). “Ushairi wa mapokeo na wakati ujao” katika zinduko Na 1, Jarida la Chama cha Kiswahili. Dares Salaam: Chuo Kikuu cha Dar es Salaam.

Maitaria, J. N. (2017). Dhima ya ushairi wa Kiswahili katika kuelimishia jamii kuhusu demokrasia. Kiswahili, 77(1).

Mbaabu, I. (1996). Language Policy in East Africa. Nairobi: Education Research and Publication.

Forster, M. N. (2007). Hermeneutics Theory. Retrieved on 1/12/2021,

Mnyampala, M. (1965). Diwani ya Mnyampala. Nairobi: Kenya Literature Bureau.

Mohamed, S. A (1980). Sikate Tamaa. Nairobi: Printing Services Ltd.

Mohamed, S. A. (2002). Jicho la ndani (Vol. 147). Longhorn Publishers. Kenya.

Robert, S. (1971). Mashairi ya Shaaban Robert. Nairobi. Nelson and Sons Ltd.

Robert, S. (1972). Sanaa ya ushairi (Vol. 7). Thomas, Nelson and Sons Ltd.

Senkoro, F. M. K. (2011). Fasihi. Dar es Salaam. Kauttu Limited.

Vinkler, H. (1981). Basic Hermeneutical Principles- Squarespace, retrieved on 2/10/2021, https://static1 squarespace .com

Wanjala, F. S. (2011). Kitovu cha Fasihi Simulizi: Kwa Shule, Vyuo na Ndaki. Mwanza: Serengeti Educational Publishers (T) Ltd.

21 December, 2021
How to Cite
Lukamika, K. (2021). How Poetry as A Dual Genre Draws its Themes from the Author’s Origin, History and Setting: A Case Study of Two Selected Kiswahili Poetry Books. East African Journal of Education Studies, 4(1), 129-137.