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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Traditional Shona Poetry and Mental Health
Author:Chiwome, Emmanuel M.
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
mental health
oral poetry (form)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Health and Nutrition
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Art, Architecture, Music, Drama
performing arts
Abstract:This article shows that traditional Shona sung poetry and dance have a therapeutic potential throughout an individual's life. The performance of traditional Shona poetry in Zimbabwe is a holistic event involving both serious and light-hearted activities. Poetry lends itself to ritual and is often combined with other art forms such as music and dance. Traditional Shona poetry plays a part in the socialization of individuals. It deals with feelings. Its themes are human conflict, crises, unfulfilled and broken wishes and hopes, as well as joys. The paper presents the Shona text of several songs and poems, with an English translation, including examples of 'nhango' poetry, which is part of the established procedure for observing traditional customs; nursery songs; 'sarura wako' ('select your mate'); narrative poetry; songs sung in order to express one's anxiety, anger or criticism; war songs; and hunting songs. Religious poetry, such as incantations by a traditional healer, is useful in coping with fears which stem from Shona beliefs about good and evil. Migrant labourers use poetry to acclimatize themselves to the alien environment of the city. Notes, ref.