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The Swahili Architecture Of Lamu, Kenya: Oral Tradition And Space

The Swahili Architecture Of Lamu, Kenya: Oral Tradition And Space

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This dissertation is about the architecture of the Swahili peoples living along the eastern coast of Africa. Specifically, it explores the links and relationships between oral traditions, rituals and the built environment of the Waswahili (sing. Mswahili) or the ‘people of the coast''. The ‘ambiguous'' and ‘anomalous'' identity of the Waswahili raises important questions on the definition and the understanding of Swahili architecture. To understand Swahili architecture, one must, first, understand the language and identity of the Waswahili. This dissertation makes use of new sources for the interpretation of the built environment of the Waswahili as depicted in the standing 18th century buildings in Lamu town, the oldest living town on the eastern coast of Kenya. Designated on UNESCO''s World Heritage List, Lamu has a unique architecture that has often been misinterpreted and misunderstood, and such studies often lack authenticity. This dissertation is an attempt to bridge the gap between the identity and the built environment of the Waswahili and to portray Swahili architecture through oral discourse.
The Swahili Architecture Of Lamu, Kenya