Swahili people and interior africa relationship marketing

swahili people and interior africa relationship marketing

The East African coast is an interface between the continental world of Africa movement of people, the routes they follow, and the relationships they forge, . a large part of the interior of eastern Africa was occupied by Late Stone Age regarding fishing, boat-building, market towns, and intermingling with foreign traders. During the Shirazi Era, several city-states flourished along the African coast and . nineteenth-century helped spread the language to the interior of particularly Tanzania. Tanzania's special relations with countries of southern Africa was the chief . Mega Complex Market Street, Arusha, P.O Box , Arusha, Tanzania. PDF | Coastal peoples who lived along the Eastern African seaboard in millennium, but there still seems to have been a market beyond the coast .. Coast-Interior Settlements and Social Relations in the Kenya Coastal Hin-.

Slavery became an important part of the trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but there are indications that enslaved people were also traded out from the coast during these earlier centuries B.

These winds allowed merchants to sail from India and the Persian Gulf to eastern Africa from November through March with the northeast monsoon and then, when the winds shifted in April, to return to their home ports sustained by the southwest winds. Swahili towns were an important nexus for overseas merchants: The growth of overseas trade and traffic to coastal ports created conditions for the emergence of sociopolitical and economic inequality, with some individuals control- ling access to overseas goods and thus obtaining greater prestige locally.

Along the coastal corridor, the emergence of hierarchical political organizations took two general forms: Patrician towns are often viewed as relatively benign oligarchies, where a series of powerful clans controlled access to, and relations within, the town limits to outsiders.

The power of patrician groups extended generally to the town walls, although there were close commercial, political, and social links between them and surrounding groups often based on patron-client relationships Horton and Middleton These towns did not have a hereditary leader although heredity played an important role in the continuation of a house but instead selected leaders from among the prominent clans and families, which served as a primus inter pares—first among equals.

This political organization was fairly prominent in the northern towns along the Kenyan coast, best known from ethnographic accounts of towns in the Lamu archipelago Horton and Middleton ; Middleton ; A. Towns with kings were much more autocratic; a hereditary king or sultan con- trolled the political realm.

Although some contentious relationships existed between merchants and sultans in these towns Fleisherthe sultan was often an active participant in merchant activities. This is well illustrated architecturally by the storage and putative trade areas connected to Husuni Kubwa, the sprawling residence of the fourteenth-century sultan of Kilwa Kisiwani in southern Tanzania. We know from local chronicles that the sultan was not the sole merchant, however, and others in the town were active in long-distance exchanges.

As explained in the discussion that fol- lows, Kilwa is somewhat exceptional in that it was one of the most powerful coastal towns; because of that position, the sultan was able to levy taxes on many goods mov- ing up and down the southern coast. In particular, Kilwa was likely an important hub in the gold trade, serving as a collection point for gold coming out of the Zimbabwean plateau, moving to the coast along various river courses, and then being housed at Kilwa.

Gold and other products not housed and traded at Kilwa were taxed or, at the least, taxation was attempted by the sultan of Kilwa. One general way of assessing the type of political organization in particular towns is to look at the distribution of more permanent stone architecture.

Residents of towns on the northern Kenya coast, the best-known patrician towns, lived cheek by jowl in stone houses, forming a dense architectural center. Some of these latter towns, known to be fairly prominent such as Ras Mkumbuu on Pemba Islandhad only a handful of stone houses within a much larger settlement. In both of these political organizations there appear to have been few divisions between merchants and political leaders; in most towns they were one and the same.

Therefore, the emergence of a coastal economy with market J e f f re y B. There were times when merchants and town leaders came into conflict, however, espe- cially when merchant capital was seen as threatening the legitimacy of political rule. One such example comes from a chronicle of the town of Kilwa that describes the circumstances surrounding the rebuilding of the Great Mosque, which had collapsed during a period of poverty: Permission was not given, but the sovereign gave him 1, mithkals of gold and said: Rebuild the mosque with this money.

And Sayyid Hajj Rush meditated the matter and said to himself: Unless I take this money permission to rebuild the mosque will be refused. Thus it is best to accept the money, but I shall rebuild it at my own expense. So he took the money, and rebuilt it at his own expense until it was complete. When Sultan Sulaiman died, Hajj Rush returned the money to his heirs.

What also connected these relatively different types of towns was a commitment to overseas exchange and, by the twelfth century AD, to Islamic practice. Tantalizing evidence of the earliest dates of Islam Horton suggest that some coastal towns had modest-sized mosques by the eighth century.

However, it was not until the elev- enth and twelfth centuries that Islam became the majority religion at many coastal port towns. A richly elaborated, local form of mosque architecture present in most prominent coastal towns attests to the common threads of Islam that connected towns with each other.

Surely the influence of Islamic practice, Koranic teaching, and visitation by Muslim merchants from across the Indian Ocean affected the nature of merchant activities in coastal towns. In fact, Wright The adoption of and conversion to Islam not only bound villages to centers and provided leaders with moral authority but also connected coastal merchants to overseas Muslim traders.

With conversion and exposure to Muslim traders came rules and regulations regarding the exchange of goods and the morality of the market. Although no tex- H o u s i n g t he M ar k e t tual sources or archaeological evidence informs us about the ways Swahili merchants drew upon Islamic rules of business and exchange, they surely shaped the way market exchanges were carried out in coastal towns.

swahili people and interior africa relationship marketing

Rhetoric of the Market The archaeology of the Swahili coast has not been immune to what Richard Wilk In the Swahili case, archae- ologists have tended to make too much of the market, leaving the impression that the lives of coastal Swahili people were dominated completely by trade and market interests.

This includes the assumption that certain types of archaeological evidence, such as coinage, indicate a suite of commercial institutions that may or may not have been present in pre—sixteenth-century towns marketplaces, banking, credit; but see Killick To be clear, I am not questioning the importance of merchant activi- ties in the development of Swahili society, and I believe external exchanges in Swahili towns were governed by something approximating market principles, albeit in unique ways.

However, few attempts have been made to use archaeological data to support claims that the ancient Swahili practiced extensive market exchange or had advanced commercial institutions, and none have explored whether market exchange governed internal exchanges. Perhaps the history of archaeological research on the Swahili is somewhat to blame for what I think is an over-interpretation of the prevalence of market forces in ancient Swahili society. Research and writing on the ancient Swahili since the early s has sought to establish them as one of the premier and autochthonous com- plex societies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Although I do not argue with this paradigmatic reorientation my own research has been part of this sea changeI believe some cur- rent syntheses have gone too far in their interpretation of the types of market institu- tions that were present throughout the Swahili world before the sixteenth century.

swahili people and interior africa relationship marketing

One reason for this is the conflation of historical and ancient periods; much of our image of the Swahili is taken from descriptions of them from the sixteenth century onward, when the Swahili economy was significantly altered through the intrusion of Portuguese and, later, Omani and British forces Pearson In an effort to draw out the deep origins of the merchant Swahili, most overviews uncritically move back and forth between the pre— and post—sixteenth-century world Horton and Middleton ; Kusimbausing later documentary examples of commercial institutions to explain earlier economic transformations.

Although J e f f re y B. F l e i sher there may be much to be learned by looking at nineteenth- and twentieth-century historical and ethnographic sources on the Swahili, the tendency has been to read these sources into the past with little archaeological support.

The result, I argue, is to invest Swahili economic forces in the pre-Portuguese period with an anachronistic level of complexity.

Markets in Africa : a Review of Research Themes and the Question of Market Origins. - Persée

In addition, some scholars tend to extrapolate from single exceptional cases to all coastal towns. For example, the town of Kilwa Kisiwani Chittick is often held up as a classic example of a Swahili town Nurse and Spear However, Kilwa was one of the most powerful and exceptional towns along the coast. From AD tothe larger Swahili world contained dozens of independent and variably orga- nized polities. Kilwa was but one of these, and its unique history and ability to control the transit of gold during the twelfth through fourteenth centuries make it ill-suited as a standard bearer for other coastal towns.

The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World

My own research at a midsized Swahili polity on Pemba Island, Tanzania, has sought to redress this imbalance by investigat- ing the political economy of a more modest town and region, perhaps closer to the coastal norm than were sites like Kilwa or Mombasa. Yet I am careful not to reinstate a normative view of coastal market exchange. In the discussion that follows, data from Pemba challenge some long-standing notions about the nature of market exchange; these data are not meant to build a unitary notion of coastal exchange patterns, how- ever, but rather to begin to expose some of the variability in coastal market relations.

What We Know about Swahili Market Exchange Archaeological evidence of ancient markets is notoriously elusive, and in many cases market behavior is inferred rather than demonstrated with archaeological evidence Hirth Unlike Mesoamerica, where ample documentary sources attest to large and thriving public marketplaces at the time of Spanish conquest, in the Swahili case there are few, if any, direct references to public marketplaces—or market activ- ity—in documents that refer to the coast.

Although most documents written by exter- nal observers describe the goods obtainable in particular towns, few describe actual marketplaces with goods for public sale or how one went about acquiring them.

In fact, the only reference that specifically refers to a marketplace is from the first-century AD Periplus, which, as discussed previously, does not date to the period of Swahili towns. To date, neither Rhapta nor any towns dating from this period have been located or excavated along the coast but see Chami Of the many other references to coastal port towns, most list the many products available or consumed in the town but never refer to any public marketplaces, customs houses, or even storehouses.

Even though we know about the specialized architecture at Kilwa, especially Husuni Kubwa and Husuni Ndogo possibly a storage facilitytravelers to Kilwa never mention these structures or the activities that occurred within them. This silence is especially surprising for eyewitness accounts by Arab travelers H o u s i n g t he M ar k e t and merchants, who were accustomed to these features in other trade towns along the Indian Ocean rim. As Roxani Margariti At the center stood the triad of the customs house and two wholesale markets.

Battuta traveled from Zeila on the Red Sea down the eastern African coast, stopping at Mogadishu, Mombasa, and Kilwa Kisiwani—three of the most prominent Swahili towns of that century. His description of eastern African towns is much more flattering: However, he made no mention of marketplaces or any other struc- tures or spaces related to market exchange.

Elusive Swahili Markets There are a number of reasons why markets and marketplaces might be elusive in both documentary sources and archaeological research. First, it is possible that market meetings occurred seasonally, which Mark Horton has suggested may have been the initial usage of many locations that ultimately became coastal towns.

The Swahili in the African and Indian Ocean Worlds to c. 1500

These seasonal fairs in which market exchange occurred could have been temporary and car- ried out in neutral locations away from established towns and villages. Seasonal fairs would have made good sense along the eastern African coast, where overseas trade was regulated by the monsoonal winds, as discussed previously. Seasonal fairs may have been the norm for the earliest periods of significant trade, the seventh to tenth cen- turies AD.

Aside from the earliest levels of coastal cities, a number of single-compo- nent settlements from this period are draped along coastal areas, often extending for a kilometer or more in length for example, Fukuchani and Unguja Ukuu on Zanzibar, Tumbe on Pemba Island; Figure 7. The archaeological deposits at these sites tend to be relatively compact but with imported pottery, glass, and metals well represented Horton ; Juma Unfortunately, the spatial layout of these earliest cites is poorly understood as a result of a combination of ephemeral deposits and poor preser- vation of materials that indicate structures.

swahili people and interior africa relationship marketing

One of these early sites is Tumbe, located on the northeastern coast of Pemba Island, Tanzania. This settlement is spread over more than 35 hectares but contains deposits no more than 30 to 40 centimeters in depth. This is strikingly different than later settlements with deeply stratified, almost J e f f re y B. Northern Pemba Island with sites mentioned in the text.

Based on this type of stratigra- phy, as well as the absence of permanent structures and evidence of domestic animals Horton One particularly well-preserved building excavated at Tumbe contained a surprisingly rich assemblage of imported pottery, mostly sherds of large imported jars Sasanian Islamic and Siraf storage jars from the Persian Gulf, with smaller num- bers of small imported serving bowls.

The density of imports from these house depos- its far exceeds that of any other excavation from similar periods, even that from the well-excavated site of Shanga on the Kenya coast Horton Another excavated structure at Tumbe, far removed in space from the one just discussed, contained simi- lar densities of imported goods. The density of the most common imported pottery, Sasanian Islamic storage jars, is between five and ten times greater than that from Shanga. Yet the results of excavations at Shanga led Horton The site of Kimimba was a small village or hamlet less than two hectares in size, located approximately one kilometer southwest of Tumbe Fleisher Extensive excavations at Kimimba recovered a rich material assemblage of local mate- rials including local ceramics, daub, and evidence of household production iron slag but turned up very few imported artifacts, including just 13 sherds of imported pottery among thousands of local sherds.

This contrasts greatly with the material assemblage of Tumbe, where more than sherds of imported pottery were found in excava- tions of two houses briefly occupied during the eighth through tenth centuries. These data suggest, therefore, that market principles did not apply to the exchange of goods among villages on the island, even though they may have structured the exchanges between local merchants and long-distance traders.

Early coastal market centers may also be elusive archaeologically because they took place in relatively ephemeral locations, such as beaches. The results of two excava- tions hint that this may have been the case. At Manda, an early town on the northern Kenyan coast, extraordinarily high densities of imported goods have been excavated from a buried ninth- to tenth-century beach deposit Chittick ; more than 28 percent of the pottery in these contexts is imported the average along the coast is between 1 and 6 percent.

Within this fill layer, Horton Active beach marketplaces today along the coast include one fish marketplace at Tumbe Mjini on Pemba Island, held on most days. Sailors bring their boats up to the beach and throw their daily catch onto the sand; a crowd forms around it, and an auctioneer takes bids until the fish are sold.

Some of these fish are purchased in bulk and then resold in city marketplaces, but many area residents come to buy fish for direct consumption. Aside from a few wooden posts where nets are hung to dry and a ramshackle snack shack, there would be little structural indication that this beach was the site of one of the most important fish marketplaces on the island. Privatization of Commercial Exchanges Unfortunately, these contexts might be the most visible evidence of Swahili market exchange.

After the eleventh or twelfth century, market exchanges appear to have become increasingly private, moving into the restricted central parts of towns and to the houses of local merchants and elites. This privatization was accomplished mostly through a system of sponsorship, but as a ninth-century Chinese document describes, it may also have been governed by a system of oaths and blood brotherhoods: F l e i sher Persian traders wish to enter this country, they form a caravan of several thousand men and present them with strips of cloth.

Sponsorship of foreign merchants may initially have allowed them access to a cen- tral marketplace, one available only to clan members of the town. Horton described the physical layout of the town of Shanga as a mechanism for the control of trade. He argued that the town was divided into clan sections, each with a gate to the central enclosure—which contained individual clan houses, a mosque, a well, and the marketplace Horton Access to this central marketplace would have been restricted to members of town clans, which meant traders had to become connected to a particular clan to gain access.

Kenya welcomes move of Swahili being taught in South Africa

The archaeological evidence for a mar- ketplace in this central area is a set of timber kiosks that date from approximately AD — After ADhowever, commercial transactions seem to have moved into pri- vate spaces in merchant and elite houses.

Documents from the thir- teenth and fourteenth centuries describe a similar type of sponsorship system, but by that time overseas traders were required to trade exclusively with their local hosts. When a ship comes into port, it is boarded from sanbuq, that is to say, little boats.

Each sanbuq carries a crowd of young men, each carrying a covered dish, containing food. Each one of them presents his dish to a merchant on board, and calls out: Not one of the merchants disembarks except to go to the house of his host among the young men.

The slave market annually handled about 8, captives, who were transferred to slave ships sailing to India, Muscat in Oman, and the islands of Reunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues. By the s, about 19, individuals arrived in Zanzibar every year and 10, were sold away.

swahili people and interior africa relationship marketing

We counted at that time ninety, of all ages and of both sexes. Many wore a set and wearied look, many were fat and gay, while two young men and a boy alone confirmed, by their skeleton frames and looks of misery, the sensational tales often written of these markets. They had come, originally, from Malawi, miles from the coast. Another 20, were transshipped from Kilwa to northern ports. This ship with Africans on board was stranded and seized near Zanzibar.

About 95 percent of the population is Muslim. Kiswahili is not an original language but a new Bantu-based language that incorporates elements of Arabic, Persian, Portuguese and English.

He is said to have traveled with an entourage of 60, The caravan stayed in Cairo for three months before continuing to Arabia. Copy; original by Abraham Cresques, c. His journey made such a lasting impression that more than 50 years later he was depicted on a Spanish map seated on a throne with a gold orb in one hand and a staff in the other.

  • The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World

A Chief Eunuch - Alvan S. In the 19th century, they were brought from Darfur and Kordofan Sudan. Cassell, Petter, Galpin, They came from different parts of Sudan and had walked across the desert for two months.