Social context and literary aspects of Kuyabila songs : a study of Kuyabila as performed by the Tonga of the Southern Province of Zambia
Chibalo, Asnart Chiyasa Halooba
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This dissertation discusses the Kuyabila songs, called Ziyabilo, (pl ,ciyabilo, sing.) of the Tonga people known as Batonga, (pl,j Mutohga, sing,) of the Southern Province of Zambia,The first Chapter deals with the social context of ziyabilo which includes geographical, historical and ethnological factors that give rise to and are reflected in ziyabilo.A lot of ziyabilo are about the Batonga economy of mixed farming. The bull which is used as an image In many songs does not only reflect ;iie Batonga's economy of cattle-keeping, but also symbolises their egalitarian spirit by the fact that the bull is the leader of the herd of cattle and is the highest authority in it. For this reason, all bulls are equal and would expect no higher authority to bow down to. The bull also symbolises the male headship In the family.Historical factors such as early Bantu migrations and settlements, and later, the inter-trrbaI wars of the mid-nineteeth century, within Zambia and with the incursions of the Matebele from the south seem to have contributed to the rise of ziyabilo. The performance of ziyabilo is discussed in the second Chapter, There we discuss not only the process of composing the songs, but also their delivery In public. The response of the audience to ziyabilo is reflected in their occasional interjections and exclamatory remarks to encourage the poet or supply some information about him. The audience's other role is to play some of the musical accompaniments that the poet cannot play as he performs.In this same Chapter functions of ziyabilo - namely; Entertainment, news broadcasting, emotional release, praise and social control - are discussed.Finally, the third Chapter is an examination of the stylistic devices used in ziyabi io that determine that this form of art is oral literature. These are; the characteristics of the structure of the ciyabilo, the use of such stylistic features as imagery and symbolism, the praise-name, abusive and indecent Ianguage, 2|.liusions, language borrowing, repetitions of various forms, ambiguity of expressions and lastly expressions of intensity such as Ideophones, reduplication, inter¬jections and adoption of extra pronouns. These stylistic features apply to most, if not all oral literature like oral narratives. How¬ever, what distinguishes the oral poetry from oral literature in general is that. In poetry, the words are sung or chanted.