Lecture by Rhymson on Kiswahili & Hip Hop Lyricism

“Two days after Trinity College’s 7th International Hip Hop Festival, Tanzanian lyricist and beat producer, Zavara Mponjika (aka Rhymson) of Kwanza Unit fame, delivered an in-class lecture for the course, “African History, 1850 to the present” taught by Seth Markle, an Assistant Professor of History & International Studies at Trinity College. Students came to the class already having read two important policy documents penned by Tanzania’s first president Mwalimu Nyerere: “What is African Socialism?” and “Education For Self-Reliance”. Students were also required to read an essay by historian Susan Geiger on the role of African women in the Tanganyika African National Union (T.A.N.U) during the 1950s. Armed with some basic knowledge of the struggle for national independence of the mind body and soul not only in terms of political and economic freedom, students embraced Zavara’s discussion of the importance of Kiswahili to Tanzanian national identity from the period of Ujamaa na Kujitegemea to the current of Kiswahili Hip Hop as he played classic songs from old school singers Salimu Abdallah and Remy Ongala and hip hop artists such as Kwanza Unit and Zaid.” — Seth Markle