Research Article

Swahili Seafarers’ Musings and Sensuous Seascapes in Yvonne Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea


Abstract

This paper provides an analysis of Yvonne Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea (2019) with a focus on local knowledges of the sea that shore folk and seafarers from Pate Island on the Kenyan coast possess. Attention is paid to how these indigenous knowledges create local, personal, and intimate cartographies of the sea. An examination of this unique, material and intimate seascape reveals the sophisticated forms of knowledge of place that exist outside science. An analysis of the intimate engagements that key characters in the novel have with the sea helps to illustrate the centrality of the ocean to the lives of shore folk and seafarers more generally. This paper reveals that embodied and experiential knowledges offer refreshing ways of engaging with the materiality of the sea.

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