Jangwa wedding songs among the Manyika people of Zimbabwe : cultural meanings and functions conveyed through song lyrics

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    Jangwa music is indigenous to the Manyika people of Zimbabwe. African societies carefully craft song texts for different contexts to serve a functional and educational purpose, and an investigation was undertaken to explore the ways in which this is embodied through jangwa wedding music. The aim of this article is to discuss the cultural meanings and functions conveyed through song lyrics amongst the Manyika people of Zimbabwe. Since the young generation no longer values traditional music being performed at weddings, 150 elderly Manyika people acted as key informants, performing jangwa songs of which they had extensive knowledge and experience. Data collection strategies included participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus-group discussions. Most jangwa wedding songs have a positive outlook and encouragement for the newly-weds, while other songs are more critical and warn of the possible pitfalls in marriage. Findings revealed that the majority of jangwa wedding songs focus on the role of brides and married women as a whole, signifying the pivotal role they play within the Manyika society. Active participation in indigenous African musical arts is diminishing, therefore a concerted effort is needed to ensure that jangwa wedding music is revived and documented for future generations.