South African Journal of African Languages

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Rain songs and the observance of the rain cult amongst the Lobedu people of Queen Modjadji1

A Joubert


In this article I will first give a short introduction on the social dynamics and the observance of the raincult amongst the Lobedu people, who form part of the Northern Sotho branch of the Bantu-speakingpeoples of southern Africa. Examples of rain songs that I recorded at the tribal capital of the Lobedu rainqueen, Modjadji, will then be discussed. The focus of my discussion in the second part will be on (a) the pre-text, reflecting on the circumstances and background surrounding the performance of rain songs;(b) the main text, namely the transcription of the sung words or verbal utterances of the songs; and (c)the interpretative-text that will encapsulate the composition and literary interpretation of the transcribedperformed rain songs.

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