Proverbs as artistic discourse strategy in conflict resolution among Kenyan Somali
Aden, Muktar Haji Barre
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The study was motivated by the fact that little research has gone into the analysis of the Kenyan Somali proverbs although this genre not only occupies a central position in this community, but also serves many functions in the same community. In this study, we analyse Kenyan Somali proverbs. Specifically, we analyze the ways in which the proverbs is used by the community to resolve conflicts. Details of performance, language and function are elucidated particularly in relation to how they aid in conflict resolution by the community members. The study is about the Kenyan Somali proverb. The research is based on North Eastern province of Kenya where the ethnic somali concentrate. The study investigates the functions, language and performance of the proverb. The Kenyan Somali proverb has many functions but the focus of this study is the function of resolving clan conflicts. One hundred and forty six (146) proverbs were collected, but for the purpose of this study one hundred and one (101) were used for illustrations. This study is deemed necessary because the Kenyan Somali proverb, in the past, did not enjoy much of the attention of oral literature scholars. Therefore, there is need to study the proverb, especially how it is used as a conflict resolution tool. On the other hand, we understand there are many conflicts in the world and in Kenya and there attemps on how to solve them. This study will contribute to whatever existing knowledge we have on how to solve conflict and it may particularly assist government administrators who are oftenly confronted with conflicts, especially in rural areas. The methodology used in the collection of the material analyzed originates from various sources. Consulting with various sources was important because we needed a variety of data for our study. The researcher, for example, actively participated in peace meetings where live performance of the proverb were recorded. The recording was done through video, still pictures, pen and paper. Data from the field provided material for analysis which included proverbs, discussions, interviews and photographs. The researcher hired and trained six research assistants, one each from the six main clans of the Kenyan Somali. Thirty two men and twelve women who are considered opinion leaders were interviewed. In collecting the required data, the researcher also undertook library research. The library sources were necessary in order to build the theoretical basis for our study as well as to provide material to support the arguments advanced in the study. All these have been useful in building our discussions on how and why proverbs are used in conflict resolution in the Kenyan Somali community. The results of the study reveal that the proverb is used to resolve conflict and this is mainly so because of the language (style) used and the performance which include both verbal and non-verbal.