Archaeology and Oral Tradition in Malawi
Title Details

272 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

18 b/w, 28 line illus.

Imprint: James Currey

Archaeology and Oral Tradition in Malawi

Origins and Early History of the Chewa

by Yusuf M. Juwayeyi

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
First comprehensive account of the origins and early history of the Chewa as revealed by oral tradition and archaeology that allows a more accurate picture of a pre-literate society.
The Chewa are the largest ethnic group in Malawi, representing a third of the population of approximately 19 million, and their language - Chichewa - is Malawi's national language. Yet the last book on the history of this group was published in 1944, and was based on oral history, or tradition. As with much African history, oral history started to be recorded only in the late 19th century. This is the first book to use not only oral history, but also documents written by early Portuguese explorers, traders and government officials, as well as archaeology, to piece together the early history of the Chewa. The author is an archaeologist, who discovered the first major Chewa settlement, Mankhamba, near the southern part of Lake Malawi. His excavations have enabled a more scientific chronology of the migrations of the Chewa into what is today Malawi and have provided physical proof of their early history as well as their material and spiritual culture and way of life. Professor Yusuf Juwayeyi has written and documented a very readable history and description of archaeology, which reveals the value of combining oral tradition together with archaeology to arrive at a more accurate picture of the history of a pre-literate society. This book will be of value not only to historians, archaeologists and anthropologists, but also the general reader interested in Africanhistory.

YUSUF M. JUWAYEYI is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York.

South Africa: UCT Press
Introduction
The Bantu Origins of the Chewa
The Origins and Migrations of the Chewa According to their Oral Traditions
Expansion of the Chewa According to their Oral Traditions
The Practice of Archaeology
The Iron Age Archaeology of the Southern Lake Malawi Area
Discovery and Excavation of the Mankhamba Site
Ceramic and Stone Objects
Metal Objects and Beads
Faunal Remains
The Chewa at Mankhamba
Long-distance Trade and the Rise of the Maravi Empire
The Demise of the Maravi Empire
Conclusion
"The book makes a contribution relevant to both specialist audiences and to Malawian citizens. [...] The volume has much to recommend it. The structure of the chapters includes accessible summaries for nonspecialists. The volume is richly illustrated with some fifty-five black-and-white photographs, maps, figures, and tables." H-Africa
"This book is not a site report; that was published a decade ago (Juwayeyi 2010). It is instead an accessible and well-written introduction for general readers with an interest in the history of Central Africa and it therefore includes a chapter on the aims and methods of archaeology, as well as a section tracing the development of both historical and archaeological studies of the Chewa from the colonial period to the present." AZANIA
"[T]here are many aspects to admire about this volume, including its audacity in intertwining oral traditions and archaeology." Antiquity
"The book's list of cited works is also a gold mine of references. Juwayeyi has provided an immensely multi-purpose text in The Archaeology and Oral Traditions of Malawi that will be of wide interest: for archaeologists looking to utilize Malawian material (and/or oral traditions), for historians looking to incorporate more archaeology into their research, for lecturers looking for accessible readings to bring into syllabi, or simply for readers with a general interest in Malawian/Chewa history." African Archaeological Review
"The multiple illustration figures Juwayeyi presents combine well with the author's easy-to-read language, making it easier to understand the arguments. This book should appeal to college students, scholars, and those working in departments of culture and antiquities." African Studies Quarterly

Paperback

9781847013507

September 2023

£25.99 / $34.95

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Title Details

272 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

18 b/w, 28 line illus.

Imprint: James Currey