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Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism

The Case of Sayid Mahammad 'Abdille Hasan

Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism
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This book explores the influence of oral poetry on Somali politics. By reconstructing the history of the Somali nationalist resistance movement, mainly through the use of political oratory in verse form by its leader, Sayyid Mahammad 'Abdille Hasan', the 'Mad Mullah' of British history, Said Samater shows how an indigenous resource can be harnessed in a non-literate society, not only as a medium of mass communication but also as a tool for acquiring political power. He traces the intimate correlation between language, politics and oral poetry and seeks to suggest to students of African societies ways of examining indigenous forms of communication used by traditional African creators of large-scale organisations in the absence of writing, to influence public opinion. The book is an important contribution to the history of the Horn of Africa and its new material on the role of oral literature in a non-literate society will interest linguists, sociologists and anthropologists, as well as students of folklore and comparative literature.
Cambridge University Press; September 1982
247 pages; ISBN 9780511867002
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