The Bedouins of ancient Arabia and Persia made poetry a conversational art form. Several poetic forms developed from the participatory nature of tribal poetry. Today in most Arabic cultures, you may still experience public storytelling and spontaneous poetry challenges in the streets. The art of turning a rhyme into sly verbal sparring is considered a mark of intelligence and a badge of honor. Students will learn about the origins and structure of Arabic Poetry.
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A fusion of linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups with rich diverse roots and intersecting histories make up South Africa. However, the literature on most of the smaller groups tends to be thin and uneven, and often tends to relegate them to the margins of the country's major narratives. This innovative study introduces readers to a fascinating world of linguistic, religious, and cultural politics in the South African port city of Durban, from around 1950, the world of the Arabic Study Circle. This Association was led by a group of largely middle class Indian Muslim Gujurati-speaking men who were passionate about breaking out of the narrow confines of their origins and connecting to a larger changing world of learning rooted in Arabic and an Islamic modernity. They were gentlemen who believed in the transformative powers of reading and conversation. They exemplify the broader process common among educated, but disadvantaged, people in apartheid South Africa, and across the decolonised world in search for meaning community and authenticity.