Oral strategies for conflict expression and articulation of criticism in Zulu social discourse.
This study examines the oral strategies employed by Zulu speaking people in the expression of conflict and criticism in their social discourse. These oral discourses, viz. izibongo and naming practices, are analysed to ascertain the socially acceptable ways in which Zulus articulate their frustrations and discontent in various social settings. These are commonly used in rural communities, but they also echo in urban social settings. Hostility and ill-feelings are thus channelled through the sanctioned form of these various oral expressions either as a means of merely airing one's dissatisfaction or as a means of seeking personal redress. The study also reveals that these particular forms of oral expression with critical content, do not exist for their own intrinsic value simply to artfully describe a particular individual. They are composed primarily to serve a particular social function of conflict articulation and expression in non-conflictual ways. The function of these oral forms is that of a "socio-cultural archive" (Conolly 2001), which is vested in the memory of those who can express in performance, their renditions of personal and group identity. The aesthetic beauty of these forms must be regarded as a secondary function and a direct by-product of the primary function, which is personal identity expressed in a way which ensures that issues which could cause conflict are highlighted so as to diminish their conflictual potential. The reason for this is that in order to fulfill the first function, which is conflict reduction, Jousse (1990) states there has to be a form (rhythm, balance and formula) which makes the expressions memorisable - which literate people equate to 'poetry'.