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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.20

Alternative Identities as a Response to the Nation-building in East Arica: Afrabiyya, Zanzibari, Zanzibara


  • Dr. Anna Siim MOSKVITINA

Primary authors

  • Dr. Anna Siim MOSKVITINA (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of Peter the Great (Kunstkamera) of Russian Academy of Sciences)


The concept of Afrabiyya, first formulated by Ali A. Mazrui (1933-2014), a historian and political scientist of Kenyan origin, is an anti-orientalistic interpretation of political history in East Africa and a civilizational insight. Afrabiyva is a syncretic culture merge and an identity that has been developing through close contacts of Arabs and Africans since pre-Islamic times and especially since the islamization of Africa. Being an Afrabian (Swahili: Mwafrabia) implies a multilevel identity in genealogical, cultural and ideological dimensions. Afrabiyya, being mainly rooted to East Africa, was in many senses a reaction to the reshuffling of ethno-social identities in young independent states of the region and the nation building policies in Tanzania after the violent revolution in Zanzibar and the political union of Zanzibar and Tanganyika as one republic in 1964 and the attempts of recasting Zanzibari into Zanzibara (Julius Nyerere’s neologism, composed of the words “Zanzibar” and “bara”, ‘mainland’). This research has ben supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project № 18-011-00644).