RETHINKING THE EXPANSION OF ISLAM IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
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The process of the up-country Islamic expansion, away from the Islamised towns situated on the long East African coast, began only in the nineteenth-century. Islam advanced slowly and gradually along a network of caravan routes through trading contacts with some African peoples, spread by ordinary adherents, Kiswahili-speaking merchants, who penetrated the interior of Eastern Africa in search for ivory and slaves. Economic and trading interests and activities played also a role in the spread of Islam at the southernmost tip of the African continent. Many slaves and political prisoners sent to the Cape during the period 1652 to 1795 were Muslims. Even though the idea of a comparison between Eastern and Southern Africa may arouse contradictory reactions among the Islam ś students, an attempt will be made at an appraisal of similarities and differences in the expansion of Islam, Islam's contribution to literacy, education and intellectual development.
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