South African Journal of African Languages

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Zwikumelo – Referential praises for empowerment and talk management strategies for mahosi (royal leaders) with special reference to Thovhele Miḓiyavhathu Tshivhase

TM Sengani


Praises called zwikumelo in Tshivenḓa are often seen by outsiders as acts of interruption or interjections by royal praise-singers when their rulers are busy addressing people. There are others who see them as flattery; profuse, ridiculous and extravagant exclamations chanted to exaggerate the positions of rulers. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that there are genuine referential praises for rulers which are used to honour them and enhance their status, but that, in addition, they also function as talk management strategies to empower the rulers and to enhance the standard of such talks to be more informative, effective and focused.

S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang.,2008, 2

AJOL African Journals Online