Historia na maendeleo ya riwayaya Kiswahili
This paper sets out to investigate briefly the historical origin of Kiswahili prose literature a,w traces its development up to contemporary times. It notes the most important stages that the Kiswahi: novel has gone through and the most influential factors that have shaped it. The discussion sets off by raising afew theoretical questions aimed at grounding the framewon within which the exposition proceeds. Theformal and thematic concerns of the traditional "novel" genre are delineated and the main epic stages of Kiswahili prose writing in colonial and POSI independence eras are discussed against the background. of the unfolding literary and critical concerns of each period with the attendant socio-political and economic dictates. Each stage ana trend is exemplified by quotes from the works considered classical for the era in question. The paper highlights the relative poverty of prose works in Kiswahili in contrast to poe« writing. Secondly, the literary gap and lack of a continuum from the traditional lore to modern prose is also explained. The undue dependence of the East Africans on literature created in Englis! which is brought about by the skewed language policies is seen as largely contributing to the underdevelopment of Kiswahili prose literature. An appeal is made for a concerted effort by the political establishment tofoster a more positive attitude toward Kiswahili. Such a step will not only promote prose writing as the language develops but also, hopefully, raise the quality of Kiswahi/i literature as a whole.