The song as a medium of social and literary comment:a study of songs in Mganda dance practised in mwase-lundazi,1937-1958
Chirwa, Jacob Abel
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The discussion on the origins, performance and social and literary functions of the mqanda dance songs among the people mwase in Lundazi "also known as Chimaliro') in eastern Province of Zambia is the basis for this dissertation. The Mganda dance, which Is also known as Malipenga, is an off shoot of the Beni dance mode from East Africa,, Other off shoots of the Bern in Central Africa being the Kalela among the Bisa and mbeni or Vindungu among the Bemba in Zambia. In Malawi the dance form is called Malipenga among the Tonga and Mganda among the henga. It is a fairly modern dance having evolved about the beqinninq of the current Century, Historically,Mganda is closeiy associated with Britain's military maneouvres and the spread of her colonial activities covering East and Central Africa. The Beni dance diaspora from the East African coastal towns of Larnu and Mombasa to Central Africa. followed a parallel pattern to that of the military conquest of the region. The offshoots are thus seen as regionalised dance patterns whose putative parent is the Beni The study is divided into five chapters, the -first of which is of an introductory nature, The aims and rationale of the study are discussed here, A brief outline of the historical political and socio-economic situation that gave rise to the dance in Chimaliro is traced. Chapter two discusses the origin and development o* the dance in Chimalirn from 1937 to 1958,, Of great importance in this chapter is the division of the study period into three phases — Simati, Chibeza and Kandale. For the rise of each of these phases, the underlying political or socio—enonomic forces are discussed, This analysis- presents the -functional nature of the dance songs during my study period* The case study made of the practice during the study period phase shows the nature of organisation of the dance mode and helps in classifying the question of the ubiquity of the dance, The third chapter discusses the ethnonomusicology part of the dance, The relationship between the dance songs and the contexts- in which they were performed formulates the oasis of the discussion in this chapter. The argument advanced is that-due to the close relationship between the dance (songs and the kinematics) and the topical themes used in the scnqs, there existed a major ro3 e that these songs • played ?. n the promulgation of social stratification messages in the contexts of the performances^ The fourth chapter deals with the literary analysis of the songs. Much of it is focussed on the attempt to define the songs as an example o-f lyric poetry. features that are cardinal in the analysis of the nature of lyric poetry are applied on the songs so as to qualify the assertion that these sonqs are an example o-f that -form o-f literature. The final chapter is the conclusion of the study I finally posit that due to tne findings made In the discussion o-f tine songs ins the aforegoing chapters, Hganda dance songs form an important part of the people's literature which if topical, as the Hganda songs are, have numerous functions in society.