"Arab Influence in African Culture: A Study by Mohamed Amin Abdel Samad"

Egyptian researcher Mohamed Amin Abdel Samad explores the Arab influence in African culture in his latest book, "Know Your People - Anthropological Studies in African Cultures." The book primarily focuses on the Sultanate of Oman's impact on the East African coast, particularly on Zanzibar Island. The inhabitants of Zanzibar are historically traced back to three primary groups: Arabs, Shirazis, and Bantus, with a minor Indian presence. Notably, the Omani Arabs have been a significant part of the population through various migrations over the centuries for political, tribal, or economic reasons.

The book highlights cultural influences, such as the adoption of the Omani dagger, a symbol of elegance and personality in Oman, now ingrained in Zanzibar's culture. Abdel Samad then shifts his focus to Arab African literature, which uses Arabic to express the concerns of non-Arabic speaking African countries. He probes into the neglect of this literature compared to the profound interest in Arab literature from Al-Andalus, despite similar conditions of production.

Arabic poetry in Senegal, linked to Islamic kingdoms and their schools, emerged as the earliest form of literary expression. Students and poets mirrored ancient Arab poets, leading to a cultural and literary movement in major cities where Arabic was the core language. The poetry primarily focused on traditional themes like praise, pride, satire, and love. The book cites prominent poets in this field, such as Haj Omar Tall al-Futi, Judge Majekhty Kalt, and Haj Malik Sy Ahmad, who contributed significantly to the lyrical emotional poetry in Senegal.