Mwana Kupona

box9Mwana Kupona, whose birth date is sometime in the early 1800s, died around 1860.  She was married to Bwana Mateka, Sheikh of Siu, who figured prominently in the conflicts involving the Omani Sultan of Zanzibar, Sa’id Sayyid (1791 – 1856).

For more on what we know about her see JWT Allen, Werner & Hichens, and Harries (see Bibliography)

Her only poem that has survived is her utenzi reproduced here. Undoubtedly she had written more, but they have not survived.

To view a copy of the poem written in the Swahili-Arabic script and to listen to it recited, go to:

NB:  The MS and recitation on the SOAS site varies somewhat from the version published on this site.

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Discovering Swahili Poetry