An analysis of the aesthetic of Abagusii male initiation ritual drama: Okwaroka
Nyarang'o, Wycliff Omwansa
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The Abagusii of Kenya initiate boys into adulthood through okwaroka, a ritual performed annually. This study focuses on the aesthetic aspects of the ritual in terms of its dramatic make-up. The focus involves an analysis of the performance of the ritual right from its preparation stage, through the seclusion period to the graduation rite, in order to unveil the aesthetic nature of okwaroka. The objectives are: one, to identify and analyse the aesthetic aspects of okwaroka; two, to examine the contribution of performance of the ritual in the realisation of its aesthetics; three, to critically evaluate okwaroka as a tool for communication of social values. The analysis of the data has been guided by the Afro centric perspective on aesthetics as advanced by Kariamu WelshAsante in the Nzuri model, Data has been obtained through participant observation and key informant interviews, and has been analysed according to the provisions of the conceptual model, which postulates certain aspects in African art. These aspects are: spirit, rhythm, creativity, mode, function, ethos, motif; meaning, methodltechnique and form. The study opens up the performance of okwaroka in terms of time and context, revealing the aesthetic nature of the ritual. Further, it emerges that the performance has a functional value to the performers and that literary messages are embedded in the expressive modes ofthe ritual. These expressive modes in okworoka; it was realised, communicate the ideals of the Abagusii community.