Women’s portrayal in Tanzanian Kiswahili poetry: a psychoanalytical perspective

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University of Dar es Salaam
Among the popular music along the coast of Tanzania, Taarab is paramount. It has been influenced by the patriarchal •system which dominates the society. This study aimed at investigating the general portrayal of women in Taarab and examine whether the unconscious forces propelling it as used in Taarab reflects on women's social and emotional disposition. The qualitative paradigm specifically case study approach was used in this study. Dar es Salaam region was selected as the area of study. Taarab stakeholders involved included Taarab lyrics composers, singers, fans, TV and Radio directors cum broadcasters. Primary data was obtained via in-depth and structured interviews while secondary data collection involved documentary reviews of Taarab lyrics from various groups. Findings revealed that Taarab lyrics directly or indirectly focus on women though majority of Taarab composers are men which reflect on the collective unconscious (anima archetype present in men, which helps them understand women). Furthermore, what is composed in Taarab lyrics mainly comes from what happens in the society. Consequently prominent Taarab themes are women's behavior and attitude, love, God, polygamy and relationships whereas women are often portrayed in terms of their behaviour and attitude. From the finding it was concluded that the unconscious is more influential on women's social and emotional disposition in Taarab music as it portrays women as subordinates to men. The conscious is also seen to be influential though when linked to unconscious as it concentrates on audience and market. The study recommends to the Stakeholders of women emancipation to view the findings from this study as a challenge for them to continue their struggle against the patriarchal system.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF PN56.W6M3253)
Women, women in poetry, Women in Literature
Mbelle, A. A (2008) Women’s portrayal in Tanzanian Kiswahili poetry: a psychoanalytical perspective, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.