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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Putting down' women with male oratory: an analysis of an oral poetic form among the Boorana Oromo
Author:Wako, Fugich
Year:2010
Periodical:The journal of Oromo studies
Volume:17
Issue:1
Pages:179-217
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:oral poetry
Boran
gender relations
Abstract:A form of Boorana oral poetry known as 'dhaawaa' is normally performed by men to speak about women whom they deem to be 'miscreant'. The genre falls under what in conventional oral literature classification may be termed as joke or play. It is ideally recited in order to ridicule women during the 'korma-korbeessaa' (bull/he-goat) ritual that is carried out either by the age-set ('harriyyaa') or the entire eligible male population within a locality ('dheeda'). By far the most offensive of men's verbal play directed at women, 'dhaawaa' is a form of licensed insult aimed at women who have denigrated men. Contemporary 'dhaawaa' has been dynamically changing in both form and content. Thus the current version of 'dhaawaa' is more generalized: it deals with issues affecting the Boorana community as a whole, and generally views women as a collective group whose actions can be evaluated and commented upon. This is exemplified in 'dhaawaa' chiding women for contravening the traditional Boorana patriarchal lifestyle and bemoaning women's involvement in the 'ayyaana' spirit possession cult that, like the Derg government of Ethiopia, is seen to threaten men's power and authority over women. Such 'dhaawaa' use masculine oratorical wit to implicate women as social offenders, and serve the larger project of defending male culture that is also construed as Boorana culture. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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