Movement 3: Consciousness and Plants: Image-Tree-Word / Coscienze vegetali: immagine-albero-parola

From seed to plant: vegetal images and metaphors in Swahili poetry


Abstract


The article analyses a few Swahili poems; the focusing on the use of metaphorical language and the resulting images in order to represent the cultural context in which both classical and modern Swahili poetry play its role as medium of knowledge. Swahili poets translate their world vision connecting language and vegetal kingdom through the so-called “visual or pictorial language”. In a few of the selected poems, for example, a female figure is likened to plants and flowers, therefore highlighting what the recurring association of the flora with the female figure may say about different visions of womanhood. Vegetal metaphors occur also in political and philosophical verse, in which trees and vegetables are used as a means to hide the message and give it an enigmatic form.

Keywords

Swahili poetry; image; metaphor; female body; flowers, fruits, plants; trees; utendi; shairi; wimbo

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13135/1825-263X/1882

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