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date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The song “Shiganga Jilikenya ku Mabala” (Boulders, fighting on the plain) was composed during World War I by Ng’wana Matonange, a Sukuma singer conscripted into the German Army. Matonange saw the war in economic terms from the point of view of a pastoralist, commenting that the Germans and the British were at war because of cattle. The song enjoyed popularity in dance competitions during the 1920s, before being collected by the anthropologist Hans Cory. The song text was transcribed, and archived with the Hans Cory Papers at the University of Dar es Salaam. The text was referenced in interviews with living musicians and other commentators who were from the village where the song was collected. They were able to elucidate further about the composer, the melody, additional verses, performance practice, and the battle documented in the song. Their commentary informed ethnographic and historical interpretation of the song’s transmission trajectory.

Keywords: World War I, Tanganyika, Tanzania, Hans Cory, Sukuma, porters, soldiers, pastoralist, German, British

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