|dc.description.abstract||The research describes how the Batswma women use their songs as potential vehicles
for cultural empowerment, continuity and change. The songs are regarded as a form of
literature which is an integral part of culture and tribal life. From the traditional point
of view, Batswana women participated in many rituals which had cultural significance.
Through the songs women are able to teach culture to the younger generation, to
maintain culture and its values, and also to change the culture by considering skills and
knowledge that are needed for survival. The women's songs are a powerful force for
social cohesion, as well as a tool for reinforcing a common identity. The songs express
the values attached to the women's tradition, and also to communicate with the
ancestors, who are believed to have power to cast a protective eye over the living.
The research depended mainly on fieldwork that was conducted in three Batswana
villages in the North-West Province of South Africa between January 1996 and May
1999. The tribes selected are the Bahu~tshe booMoilwa at Dinokana, Bakwena
booMorare at Matlhaku and Batlokwa booBogatsu at Tlokweng. The information was
gathered by means of interviews and a questionnaire for individuals and groups on the.
different stages of female life in order to establish the potential of the women's songs as
vehicles for enculturation, continuity and change.
The study investigates the functions of the women's songs by means of the interaction
ritual model as sources of social solidarity. Women's empowerment is viewed as the
development of their knowledge skills and capacities for the purpose of social
advancement and includes caring for and educating infants and children, as well as
raising girls' consciousness and self-esteem. Furthermore, analysis is made of the
lullabies sung to babies by mothers, older sisters and nannies, including game songs
sung by young girls, which play a part in their socialization.
In this research the major focus is on the analysis of the formal role of the Central
Batswana women's songs in rainmalilng and rites of passage such as initiation. The
responsibility of girls in relation to the complex nature of human relationships. love and
codes of morality and their specific contribution to domestic life is viewed kom a
broader perspective of interpersonal bonds within the community as a total entity.
The study of the women's songs is based on cultural continuity and change in marriage,
childbearing, widowhood, and in economical and political life. The potential of the
songs as effective tools for interaction and communication is investigated.
The study describes the performance of the songs in relation to the communication
model in a particular setting where thc meaning is circulated from the performer to the
audience in face-to-face interaction who will then be expected to give feedback. The
women's struggle for challenging the patriarchy and making their voices heard is
carried out by mcans of the songs they perform. Finally, the performance strategies and
poetic tcchniques of the songs are analyzed to determine how the songs arc used in
enculturation, continuity and change.
Ln Nnaemeka's (1998: 1) view, "We are making our voiccs heard. May the world stop