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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Artistic Techniques of Expression in the Performance of the Mijikenda Naming Ceremony Vyalusa of Kenya
Author:Mumbo, C.K.
Year:2013
Periodical:Matatu
Volume:41
Pages:377-387
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:Anthropology & Ethnology
Subjects:Mijikenda - ethnic group
Ceremony
Abstract:Most African naming ceremonies are usually performed in a very artistic and dramatic manner. Within these performances, different artistic techniques of expression are used to bring out the desired messages. In the Mijikenda naming ceremony, commonly known as Vyalusa, several artistic forms of expression have been identified and analysed. The techniques employed are used creatively to impart messages on moral values as well as other didactic information to the community. It is imperative to take cognizance of the fact that naming ceremonies and traditions of certain African communities constitute the complex domain of African theatre and, by extension, performing arts. In Vyalusa, the Mijikenda naming ceremony, which forms part of the African rites of passage, a new-born baby is admitted into the larger Mijikenda society. In the performance of this ceremony, a child is given a clan name by a grandparent or a clan elder identified by the family. If the child is a boy, he is named after the grandfather, while a girl is named after her grandmother. These clan names serve a special purpose in the Mijikenda community, helping maintain as well as safeguard the existence of the different clans and ethnic groups. (Journal Abstract).