Style and Meaning in Funeral Oratory

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A Study of Khuswala Kumuse of the Bukusu

This book analyses Babukusu funeral oratory ritual called Khuswala Kumuse.

It highlights the central role the ritual plays in Babukusu community in defining their worldview and how they relate with their cosmology and themselves.

The ritual performer exploits the linguistic resources at his disposal to construct meanings that enables the society to understand itself better.

Thus the book highlights stylistic features in the performers’ text and how they contribute to the overall meanings and functions of Khuswala Kumuse.

The author argues that the ritual performer uses literary language in constructing the image of Babukusu-nation.


Maelo notes that the ritual provides a platform where members of the community come together to affirm their identity and nationhood and to reflect on their past and chart out their future.

This book is very resourceful to literary scholars, educators and sociologists in developing cultural dynamics theories.

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