n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - An overview of the forms of expressing social conflict in Southern Africa with special reference to the Zulus

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


In this study, an analysis is made of the strategies used by Zulu people in which they articulate their social conflict, frustrations and discontent through particular oral discourses, viz. ('praise' poetry/oral ID's) and naming practices, which render the expression of these sentiments acceptable to the community within which they are voiced. Studies involving conflict expression in the political and industrial/commercial environment are far more commonplace than this one which deals particularly with various social settings. My particular field of research has involved issues such as the contextual variations that affect the language used in communication, involving specific concerns such as the physical circumstances of the speech event, i.e. the setting, as well as the participants and their relationship roles, the particular aims and purposes of the speech event and the coherence of the discourse. The oral expressions that provide the vehicle for venting dissatisfaction in a way that is socially acceptable are of particular interest as they are an intricate part of the oral tradition of the Zulu. 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 ultimate function of making public one's displeasure and discontent is conflict reduction.

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