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Title: Oral literature in a ritual setting: the role of spirit songs in a spirit-mediumship cult of Mombasa, Kenya.
Author: Topan, Farouk Mohamedhusein Tharia.
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1971
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This thesis examines the role of spirit songs in a spirit- mediumship cult of Mombasa, Kenya. It does this by analysing the meaning and function of the songs within the context of the rituals in which they are sung. The first part describes in detail the context of these rituals, the beliefs and practices underlying them, and it provides an outline history of the Swahili community in which the rituals occur. In the second part of the thesis, the songs are divided into four broad categories on the basis of their themes and functions. An analysis of the songs is then attempted by adopting, and adapting for this purpose, the approach originally used by V.W. Turner in his study of the Ndembu circumcision ritual. This study treats the songs as a genre of oral literature. Their status as such is discussed and an attempt is made to show the literary features in them. There is also a brief discussion on the grammatical structure of the songs and, though a point of minor importance in this thesis, an approach to the grammatical study of Swahili poetry is also suggested. So far as I know this is the first attempt to deal systematically with a genre of Swahili literature in a ritual setting. The thesis is original in that respect.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available