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Word Count: 1,290
If a nation-wide public referendum was to be held today on how far Swahili culture has contributed to our socio-economic progress I bet that the majority would vote in the negative out of sheer prejudice but purely out of a realistic assessment of the role of this culture and the impact it has had on our society as far as societal change and transformation are concerned Most educated people in Tanzania feel that swahili culture has let us down in many ways For the sake of clarity I define Swahili culture as an amalgam of African traditional morals and norms of behavior on the one side and Arab fatalism associated with the notion of predestination on the other These two different cultural elements have over a long period of historical time readily interwoven to form a distinctive cultural fabric that we call Swahili culture It rose through of history geography economics and politics The intrepid Arab and Persian seafarers brought some of its elements as early as the tenth century Although it initially remained largely as a linguistic concept it later developed to cover such things as art architecture culinary habits religion songs and dances At the beginning it was mainly confirmed to the coastal belt of East Africa but later on it spread over a large part of East and Central Africa In Tanzania it was nation-wide because the new political leadership firmly embraced it But like any other culture Swahili has its own positive and negative traits and it is in the light of this division that a comparative distinction is being made in order to assess accurately its impact At least we all know that culture has a profound influence in moulding the character and attitudes of a nation which distinguish it from others Starting with the positive traits one can rightly claim that Swahili is profoundly against the use of force or violence There are of
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