Comparative analysis of Lozi Royal praise poetry between the male and female Litunga of Western Province of Zambia in form, content, function and performance
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Poetry is an expression in metrical form and elevated thought of feeling. It is said to be the oldest and most universal of all the literally arts. It holds central position in human culture. Therefore, it can be looked at as a means of entertainment and a medium of expression of important feelings and ideas. However, it also tries to convey experiences that the ordinary language cannot adequately communicate. The Lozi, like other ethnic groups, have been using poetry from the time of their first female queen who settled with them on the Barotse plain. Not only that, it is seen as holding a central position in Lozi culture and used as the main medium of expression to their rulers. Studies have been conducted on poetry and, in particular, praise poetry, but none has been done on the Comparative Analysis. Hence, the study, Comparative Analysis of Lozi Royal Praise Poetry between the Male and Female Litunga of Western Province of Zambia, in form, content, function, and performance. A qualitative approach was used in this study to gather firsthand information from the targeted population. Both primary and secondary data were used. Primary data were collected from the respondents through interviews conducted with the help of a semi-structured (guide) questionnaire. They were also collected through the use of a recorder and a note book. While secondary data were collected from written texts and the internet. The study was based on three theoretical frameworks. The first been Bauman‟s theory (1992), which focuses on expressive forms of culture, forms of art, play, display and performance. Secondly, Feminist theory by Jefferson A and Robey D (1991), whose basis is on the realization that, there is an unequal power of relationship between men and women in society. The third one is Milman Parry‟s theory which looks at the formulaic epithets, which to a modern reader may appear as irritating repetition or a not very meaningful trick of “epic style,” can also be seen as playing a significance part in the composition of poems. From the findings, the study established that praise poetry was the only means of communication used to the king (Litunga) and Queen (Litunga La Mboela). Furthermore, the findings revealed that both Litungas were saluted and praised in the same way regardless of their gender difference and this was in line with the language, diction, figurative speech, etc. Siluyana was the only language used in poetry because they did not want the ordinary people or the majority to understand or get the message in the content. This was so, because the Lozi rulers were not only praised, but also rebuked or advised him or her and hence, avoided washing dirty linen in public. Research conducted showed that anyone (male or female) could compose the poems to the King or Queen. But when it came to reciting (kuloka), only men did that and the women‟s role was to sing songs of praises (Limba or Liwalye). As for the specific and general poems, the study revealed that most poems were applied generally regardless of their sex. The specific ones came were used when they were composed on a personal level. This is a descriptive study focusing on royal praise poetry in Lozi though more work needs to be done, especially in documenting and recording the royal poems so that they can be fully appreciated by all Zambians, the world at large and generations to come. To appreciate African cultures, more research is required.
The University of Zambia