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The societal voice in Swazi children's oral poetry

Antones-Dlamini, Rachel Tengetile (2017-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Swazi children’s oral poetry consists of lullabies, rhymes, games and chants, which are recited by young children at home or in school. Lullabies are sung by mothers and baby minders for the purpose of pacifying babies, yet rhymes, games and chants are recited by the children themselves when they play. All these songs consist of the beautiful and rich language of poetry as well as the non-verbal elements of oral poetry which makes the genre distinct. However, most children in Swaziland have ceased to recite their rhymes when they play. This is because of the changing times as our society is becoming modern. Lullabies have also lost their value as it is rare to witness a mother or baby sitter singing to a crying baby. Since this genre is becoming less popular and very little research has been done on it, the study sought to collect and document the performances of some of the forgotten songs (traditional) as well as the fresh ones (modern) for future generations, so as to interpret their verbal and non verbal content. The observation method of data collection was used through requested performances from schools in which such poems were still performed. Thereafter, the structure of the poems, which constitutes the prosodic elements, was analyzed. Since the non-verbal elements of oral poetry form an integral part of this genre, these aspects were discussed: the societal values and norms, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions. In the analyses of the poems it was obvious that indeed society, through the voices of the personas and the depiction of certain characters and their actions, praises good deeds, ridicules and condemns certain acts which are unacceptable according to the standards society has put in place to maintain order. The diction acts as vehicle through which the messages and the different subject matters are communicated, whether in an emotional, calm, playful, or satiric manner. The formal structures of the poems also beautify them physically and contribute to the flow of ideas, so are the non-verbal elements such as gestures and body movements which are revealed through performance. Therefore the study recommends that more research be done on this genre to discover and document more of the songs, especially the long forgotten ones, for the future generations. Analyses of the songs could be geared on any direction to discover the rich diction and messages loaded in them.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Swazi kinders se mondelinge poësie bestaan uit slaap(wiege)liedere, rympies, speletjies en dreunsang wat geresiteer word deur jong kinders tuis of by die skool. Slaap(wiege)liedere word gesing deur moeders of kinderoppassers met die doel om babas gerus te maak, terwyl rympies, speletjies en dreunsang geresiteer word deur kinders hulself wanneer hulle speel. Al hierdie liedere bestaan uit pragtige, ryk poëtiese taal, asook die nie-verbale elemente van mondelinge poësie wat dié genre eiesoortig maak. Die meeste kinders in Swaziland het egter opgehou om rympies te resiteer wanneer hulle speel. Die rede hiervoor is die veranderende tye soos die samelewing toenemend modern raak. Ook slaap(wiege)liedere het hulle waarde verloor, omdat dit raar is om ‘n moeder of baba oppasser te sien wat sing vir ‘n huilende baba. Omdat die genre besig is om minder populêr te raak en min navorsing daaroor gedoen is, het hierdie studie ten doel gehad om sommige van die vergete liedere (tradisioneel sowel as nuwer, moderne liedere) te versamel en te dokumenteer vir toekomstige generasies en hulle verbale en nie-verbale inhoud te interpreteer. Die waarnemingsmetode van dataversameling is gebruik na aanleiding van uitvoerings versoek by skole, waar sulke poësie steeds uitgevoer word. Daarna, is die struktuur van die poësie wat die prosodiese elemente vorm, ontleed. Aangesien die nie-verbale elemente van mondelinge poësie ‘n integrale deel vorm van dié genre, is die volgende aspekte bespreek: die gemeenskapswaardes en norme, oortuigings, houdings en persepsies. In die ontleding van die poësie was dit inderdaad duidelik dat die samelewing, deur die stemme van die personas en die uitbeelding van bepaalde karakters en hul aksies, goeie dade op prys stel, en bepaalde aksies bespot en veroordeel wat onaanvaarbaar is volgens die standaarde wat die samelewing daargestel het om goeie orde te handhaaf. Die diksie dien as middel waardeur die boodskappe en verskillende onderwerpe gekommunikeer word, op ‘n emosionele, kalm, speelse, of satiriese wyse. Die formele struktuur van die gedigte versier hulle en dra by tot die vloei van idees, soos ook die nie-verbale elemente soos gebare en liggaamsbewegings wat openbaar word in die uitvoerings. Die studie beveel aan dat meer navorsing gedoen word oor hierdie genre ten einde meer liedere te ontdek en te dokumenteer, veral lang-vergete liedere, vir toekomstige generasies. Die analises kan gerig word in enige rigting om die ryk diksie en boodskappe in die liedere te verken.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102920
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