A comparative literary analysis of cattle praise poetry of the Tonga people of Bweengwa and Chivuna
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This study attempts to look at comparative literary analysis of the cattle praise poetry between the people of Bweengwa and those of Chivuna. It utilizes four literary theories to arrive at findings and these include: social constructionism, ethnopoetics, literary onomastics and the main approach being formalism. The study was undertaken to establish the similarities and differences between the cattle praise poetry of Bweengwa and that of Chivuna. The non-cross section survey method was employed to identify poets who provided poems for this research. The poems were later recorded, transcribed and analysed to bring out the research findings. Among the findings from the social constructionism perspective were that Bweengwa people keep cattle in large numbers which are ritually inclined whereas the Chivuna people keep them in small numbers naturally. The fact of this matter is evidenced from the poems of both areas of study to a large extent also dependent on the area which produces it: Bweengwa people use cattle mainly for rearing and less for farming because of the nature of their land, whereas the Chivuna people use cattle for both farming and rearing. These traits are reflected in the content of the poetry because Bweengwa people own larger herds of cattle than the Chivuna people. However, from the perspective of onomastics it was found that both places use descriptive and possessive names. Literary devices such imagery, symbols, repetition, interjections, allusion, apostrophe, anaphora and hypophora were among the common terms found in the aesthetic content of the poems from both areas. To a large extent, there are more similarities than differences in the cattle praise poetry of Bweengwa and that of Chivuna. This could be attributable to the fact that the two areas are geographically located within Tonga land and therefore macrocosms of Tonga culture. The art of Kuyabila in both areas is not restricted to a few selected experts, but may be engaged in by any member of the community. Be that as it may, it is evident that not everyone is able to perform Kuyabila songs with a convincing degree of effectiveness and entertainment. Some individuals are more talented than others. In addition, since this study was concerned with a specific form of Kuyabila-cattle praise poetry-it is apparent from the textual evidence of both areas of practice that only those who have interacted with, or even own cattle can effectively perform cattle praise poetry.
University of Zambia
Master of Arts in Literature