Traditional Malawian choral music : a liturgical-critical study within the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP)-Nkhoma Synod

Katani, Archwells Moffat (2008-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This dissertation aims to analyse and evaluate the traditional Malawian Choral music as sung by young people in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Nkhoma Synod with careful and critical consideration of the theological–liturgical outcomes. Such an analysis and evaluation reveals the neglected areas and the implications thereof for the Church, in aid of serving effectively her members. This will enrich and advance contextual theology as well as the liturgy in the Church. Chapter 2 discusses the approach the writers of Mark and Philippians took to fit into the new situations in which they were. This chapter functions as the basis for the subsequent chapters, as it tries to show how reinterpretation could have taken place. In so doing, a living expression of a living reality, which was reinterpreted in a particular place, at a particular time, for a particular purpose, will be noted in a reconfigured state. Chapter 3 will give an overview of theological–liturgical development in Malawi, and how the Gospel was brought in the light of the liturgy that evangelization assumed. The aftermath of traditional theology will then be assessed, including the impact of traditional theology on the Malawian people. Subsequently, the possibilities of coming up with a theology and a liturgy that is sensitive to the users are discussed. Chapter 4 examines traditional Malawian Choral music before the arrival of Christianity. A discussion of the way missionaries used English/Scottish music without blending it with the traditional music in the liturgy then follows. The consequence of such type of liturgizing and the initiative in the development of both English/Scottish, as well as traditional Malawian music will be shown. Chapter 5 provides an empirical study on what the young people in Malawi are singing in the CCAP-Nkhoma Synod by means of some sample areas. This includes an examination of possible influences that are compelling the young people to compose and sing these songs. This examination comprises an analysis of songs, the themes that are developing, and the reason for such themes. Chapter 6 contains suggestions for hymnological development in Malawi, based on the findings of the empirical study. This thesis acknowledges the importance of reinterpretation because of different confrontations that an individual or group experiences. To achieve this, a process of reconfiguration that involves re-interpretation and blending has been suggested and discussed. This dissertation will discuss the dialectic of experience and interpretation as regards continuous experiences of humankind due to new challenges. Such an approach provides the framework for the investigation of current experiences of present readers of the New Testament in relation to the first Christians’ experiences, which forced the reshaping of that symbolic world due to new religious convictions and experiences.

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