XIV, 74 pp.
Text languages: English, Swahili
For several years, the documentation of the Tanzanian Vidunda language has been the subject of joint research by the two editors – until 2010 within the framework of the bilateral cooperation project “Languages of Tanzania” between the Gothenburg University / Sweden and the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) / Tanzania, funded by SIDA/SAREC.
According to Guthrie, the Vidunda language is spoken by about 12,000 people in the Morogoro region, Kilosa district (south of Mikumi), especially in the villages of Vidunda, Udunghu and Chon’hwe. In addition, there is another group of Vidunda speakers in the neighbouring areas, which is not numerically recorded, due to the dominance of Swahili as a means of communication.
The book presents Vidunda proverbs and their Swahili equivalents or translations. The Vidunda-Swahili section is presented on pages 1–36 (257 entries) and the Swahili-Vidunda version with 250 entries on pages 37–74. In the foreword, Dr. Mchepange of the Institute for Swahili Studies of UDSM discusses the role of proverbs in traditional rural lifestyles, and here by means of the Vidunda community. She starts from several topics that are covered in the proverbs. At the same time, she draws attention to the parallels that exist between the Vidunda versus the Swahili version.
It is worth to take note of the development and expansion of the Vidunda proverb inventory by means of the obvious borrowings from Swahili into Vidunda. In view of the dominance of Swahili as a supra-ethnic medium of communication in East Africa, it is not possible in this context to give more precise information from a historical perspective. The resource persons who made this collection of proverbs available were excellent experts not only in the Vidunda language, but also in Swahili.
Various Tanzanian experts were involved in the preparation and completion of this publication. For example, Mohamed Mwinyi (former member of BAKITA Baraza la Kiswahili la Taifa) and Rahma Mudhar (UDSM), who have both upgraded the Swahili part. Further, as an experienced illustrator, Juma Mgenda has once again created authentic illustrations, similar in style to those in the earlier Vidunda orature books as well as in Ng’hwele and Kamba folk stories collections. There have also been various contacts with the UDSM Institute of Swahili Studies in the editing and completion of the proverb manuscript.