Bantu and Nilotic Children’s Singing Games: A Comparative Study of their Value Communication
This study is based on the premise that Luo and Luhya children’s singing games are creative works that subtly reflect the aesthetics of the two communities. The aim is to critically examine how the performance of the singing games and their texts reflect the aspirations, norms and values of the macro cultures of the two Nilotic and Bantu communities respectively. The sampled singing games include those done in the traditional setting, sung in vernacular and those that are taken from the urban or cosmopolitan settings. Our findings reveal that Luo and Luhya children’s singing games are a significant resource in communicating the values of the two communities. Luo and Luhya children imitate their physical and social environments and dramatize about the aesthetics of the communities. This dramatization reflects both traditional values and the new emerging values that have been necessitated by the introduction of western values, formal education, Christianity and others. In these singing games Luo and Luhya children are able to socialize, learn and also uphold the values of unity and respect for one another. The singing games are significant in the learning process and character development of the children involved in the performance. Luo and Luhya children’s singing games play a significant role in socializing the children in their different societies. The socialization makes the child to be rooted in the aesthetics and aspirations of his/her society. Urban children’s singing games that are sung by Luhya and Luo children reflect the child’s creativity, improvisation and the ability to borrow from various sources. The singing games utilize various sources, including the electronic media, print media and also rhymes from other cultures. Children’s singing games are repertoires of a people’s aesthetics. Apart from directly teaching the participants cultural issues and requirements, the singing games are crucial to the participants’ social and moral development. Luo and Luhya children’s singing games reflect the macro culture of the Luo and Luhya communities respectively and to a great extent the changing values in the Kenyan society. The study also gives some insights arising from the findings that can be of benefit to future researchers. There is need for researchers to focus on children’s singing games as creative works and discover their role in the social and moral development of the child and also find out how these creative works can be used in an educational set up.