The Portrayal of Masculinity in Dholuo Ohangla Music

  • Quin Awuor Orwa Technical University of Kenya
  • Anudo N. Cellyne N. Cellyne University of Kabianga


Discrimination of either gender is both a linguistic and a social issue. The Luo culture is built on patriarchy and the socialization of the children (male and female) play a critical role in the way they relate to each other. This is because from the onset the girl child internalizes her subordinate status while the male child upholds his dominant status. While the society portrays women as dependent, lazy and child like in nature, the men are portrayed as independent, aggressive and domineering. Thus positive connotations are used to refer to men while negative ones are used to refer to women. It’s on this premise that the paper investigates the portrayal of males in Ohangla, a genre of music where gender stereotypes are rampant. The data utilized was in the form of words and expressions downloaded from You Tube. Purposive sampling was used to get a sample of ten Ohangla songs sung by male and female artists in order to obtain data that was representative. This data was then grouped using the thematic classification borrowed from Weitzer & Kubrin (2009) but was tailored to fit the males who were the subject of discussion in this study. After grouping, it was transcribed and then translated into English, which is the language of study. The songs were finally subjected to analysis based on the tenets of the CDA theory discussed in the theoretical review.

Keywords: dhluo, ohangla, masculinity, Kenya, music

Author Biographies

Quin Awuor Orwa, Technical University of Kenya

Dr. Quin Elizabeth Awuor Orwa, PhD, is a Lecturer in the Department of Language and Communication Studies with a specialization in Applied Linguistics, Communication Studies, Interpretation and Translation at The Technical University of Kenya. Her interests include Language Acquisition, Literacy, Communication, Education policy, Language and culture, Gender and Language development. Specifically, her research engagements have covered such topic as Communication and Health; the role of Language; Culture, and Literacy in creating Cancer awareness in Kenya.  Her Teaching interest is in Linguistics: Advance Semantics, Phonology, and Pragmatics. Communication Studies: Soft Skills, Professional Public Speaking  and Communication Skills.

Anudo N. Cellyne N. Cellyne, University of Kabianga
Ms. Anudo Cellyne is a PhD candidate at Kabianga University in Kenya.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1998-1279