Oral Tradition in Performance
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Oral performance traditions in South Africa
The Imbongi is an official attached to the court of a Chief whose profession it is to record the praise-names, victories and laudable characteristics of the Chief. These praises, Izibongo/ praise poems*) were recited in a high pitched voice and vigorous performance at public occasions. Their attire often includes animal skins, a head-dress of animal bladders or beads, a long sharp stick and shield may be carried as accessories. In contemporary society many imbongi have aligned themselves with political parties or trade unions where they comment on the proposed action, policies of the organisations. Examples are Sitholi, A.T. Qabula. Keywords: Praise poet, political commentary. (Kashula, Russel (Ed) 1993. "Foundations in Southern African Oral Literature." Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.)
Izibongo are traditional praise poems. The poem is broken up into short phrases which may be uttered in a single breath. There is a marked emphasis of the penultimate syllable of each word, with a pause giving added emphasis to the penultimate syllable of each line. There is often elision of final vowels. This gives these poems a stately rythm and dramatic power. Dramatic and forceful imagery, with allusions to people and events in the past are important characteristics of the form. Puns are not infrequent. The language is often intensely idiomatic and therefore very difficult to translate. Keywords: Praise poetry. (Kashula, Russel (Ed) 1993. Foundations in Southern African Oral Literature. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.)
Storytelling traditions traditions
The Xhosa Ntsomi
The Ntsomi is a popular rural tradition of folktale narratives among the Xhosa.
The Zulu Izinganekwane
The Izinganekwane is a popular rural tradition of folktale narratives among the Zulu.
Research on the Oral Tradition
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