News & Blogs

  • Lesser-Known Heroes of The Pre-colonial Coast of Kenya
    20th October is Mashujaa day in Kenya. On this day, Kenya celebrates heroes who have stood up for our country and the values of humanity and dignity that define our nation. Every year, I notice a massive gap in our celebrations. National media coverage rightfully recognizes freedom fighters who fought against British colonialism, but it […]
  • Yaseen Mohamed: Kenya’s Japanese Harp player
    Yaseen Mohamed was a popular Taarab artist born in Mombasa, Kenya in the 1920s. In the early ’50s, while working for Assanand & Sons, a Mombasa record shop and music studio, Yaseen Mohamed learnt how to play the Taisho koto – a Japanese string instrument. The Taisho koto was introduced into Kenya in the 1940s […]
  • The Evolution of Numbers in Kiswahili
    Swahili is a Bantu language that has evolved over time and space due to factors such as religion, trade, colonisation and governance and technology. The numbers as known today in present-day standardised Swahili are as a result of evolution and influence.  Besides the core language structure, Arabic had the most apparent influence on the numbers, […]
  • The Mysterious Kilua
    The kilua or kiluwa (pl. Vilua/viluwa) is a small fragrant magnolia-like flower found on the East African coast. The flower’s tree is known as mlua, mkiluwa or muuwa by the Swahili and mlua, mrua, mchilua, and chingade by the Digo1. They are quintessentially East African. Kilua flowers have six yellow-green tongue-shaped petals with purple highlights […]
  • Limestone vs. Tiles: Changing Swahili Aesthetics Through The Eyes of Master Craftsmen
    Ahmed Yusuf Suleiman is one of the most sought-after Swahili plasterwork artists and a well-known building contractor on the East African coast. One afternoon in his hometown, Lamu, he gave me a tour of his ongoing contracts, describing the ancient methods that he’s mastered. The majority of his clients are wealthy European developers, some of […]
  • The Art of Swahili Cooking
    To master Swahili cooking, one must master Swahili techniques.
  • Was there ever a Kiswahili word for ‘Holy’?
    ‘The available evidence suggests that in the mid-nineteenth century, at the second coming of European-Christians to the East African coast, there was no lexical equivalent for ‘holy’ or its near-synonym ‘sacred’ in the spoken language of the Swahili people.’ Frankl, P. J. L., and Yahya Ali Omar (1999) When looking for Kiswahili words currently in […]
  • The Swahili Identity Re-envisioned
    Swahili identity is not elusive if we can work to think beyond the racial prison-house of colonial thought and understand coastal communities through these broader historical trends.
  • Mwana Darini’s Siwa
    A story on the Swahili royal horns that graced the East African coast for centuries.
  • Explainer Premiere
    We have launched our YouTube Channel where we will be sharing explainer videos about the East African Coast. Visit here and subscribe.
  • Hiistoriya Webinar
    Hiistoriya organised its inaugural webinar on 25 June 2020 on “Preserving African Heritage Heritage in a Social World“.