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Poetics of Daladala: The Case of HIV/AIDS dialogue in Daladala Ticket Slogans

S Omari


Scholars and critics have examined various genres such as poetry, drama, fiction and music dealing with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. But one medium which has been largely ignored by scholars includes daladala (commuter bus) inscriptions. Many critics seem unaware of the existence of flourishing popular African-language literatures; since they don’t fit in the paradigm, they become invisible (Barber, 1997:1). This paper examines the role of daladala inscriptions in addressing HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, especially its dialogic poetic style in discussing the pandemic. The paper builds on the experience gained by the author while riding daladala in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Daladala inscriptions can serve as a medium for expressing opinions as well as concerns around a wide variety of issues in the country. A consideration of HIV/AIDS daladala inscription is thus not only relevant to HIV/AIDS literature but also presents a particularly interesting case of a wider literary phenomenon.

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eISSN: 0023-1886