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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The 'mbíímbi', a panegyrical dynastic poem of the Yaka, and its principal characteristics
Author:Swa-Kabamba, Joseph N'SokoISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:oral literature
praise poetry
Yaka language (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3819925
Abstract:At the court of the 'kyáámbvu', the king of the Yaka of Zaire, and among his principal 'biloolo', governors of fiefs, an oral genre called 'mbíímbi' developed, a genre invested with an important sociocultural signification in the heart of the society that practises it. Unlike other oral genres practised in that same society, the 'mbíímbi' is the exclusive domain of male singers called 'bavwáala'. This essay describes the essential and specific traits by which this dynastic genre is distinguished from other (popular) oral genres known within Yaka society. The description, which focuses on the form and substance of this genre, is based on a 297-line panegyric. First, its content and thematic traits are identified. Next, the form of the poem is investigated in order to determine how the structure of this praise song functions - in other words to determine how the dynastic singer utilizes the resources of the language in order to exalt power. For here, the art of the word is at the service of power. The author, whose clan origins have facilitated access to the court of the king, has been collecting panegyric 'mbíímbi' songs since 1972. Bibliogr.