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Psalm-like texts in African culture : a Pedi perspective
Up to now there has been no attempt by Biblical scholars to compare the book of Psalms in the Old Testament with Pedi psalm-like songs. This study aims to fill that gap in the research and so contribute to the development of the African cultural heritage – especially that of the Pedi culture, by using indigenous knowledge systems. The research commences with a descriptive analysis of the various genres within the Book of Psalms. A variety of psalms types are discussed, including: Hymns of praise; Thanksgiving songs (communal and individual); Laments (communal and individual); Royal psalms; Hymns of Zion; Psalms of Yahweh’s kingship; Wisdom psalms; Liturgical psalms; Entrance liturgies; Judgement liturgies; Psalms of trust; Imprecatory psalms; Creation psalms; Torah (Law)-psalms; and Festival psalms. Each of these genres is described with reference to structural elements, characteristics and function(s). Then follows a descriptive assessment of numerous types and specific examples of Pedi Psalm-like songs via the provisioning of text, translation and a detailed commentary pertaining to contents and function. These include: Songs of Praise (e.g. Kgoparara); Thanksgiving songs (e.g. Mogale wa marumo - thanksgiving birth poem); Lament songs (e.g. Madi a manaba - a funeral song); Royal songs (e.g. Kgoshi - an inauguration song) Liberation songs (Ga e boe Afrika - a liberation song); Wisdom songs (Mokgoronyane - initiation song for boys and Kgogedi - initiation song for girls); Prayers of trust (e.g. Salane - a song of trust); Imprecatory songs (e.g. Leepo - song with irony); Law songs (e.g. Bana ba Modimo, thaetsang melao ya Modimo ka badimo - instruction song); Feasts (e.g. Ngwana malome nnyale - a lobola song and Hela Mmatswale, tlogela dipotwana - a wedding song). Finally the thesis provides a critical comparision between biblical psalms and Pedi psalm-like songs. The research demonstrates that, on the one hand, there are numerous interesting similarities between the two cultures’ songs with regard to a variety of aspects. On the other hand, the assessment also reveals substantial differences between the two musical traditions pertaining to an equally great number of issues.