The Construction of Feminine Psychology in Swahili Women’s Nuptial Poetry-Unyago
M’Raiji, John Kirimi
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This article examines the construction of feminine psychology in Swahili women nuptial poetry-unyago. Unyago poetry is composed and performed by Swahili women. Swahili is a community located along the coastal region of Kenya. This article, therefore, focuses on intersections between psychology and poetry in analyzing and describing how unyago poetry reveals the mindsets and emotions of Swahili women. Data for analysis in article is derived from research carried out among women of Swahili decent living at Kisumu using observation and in-depth interviews as data collection methods. Unyago poetry is viewed as confessions and revelations of the female self, the marriage institution and that of the marital partner. Worth noting is the fact that the women,whose ancestors originated from the coastal region of Kenya, have preserved the nuptial rituals and teachings therein across time and space. Through unyago, the women socialize their girls from children to women and is a deeply rooted practice in their philosophy, psychology, and culture of the Swahili people. Thus, this article contends that unyago is both a reflection of group and individual psychological reactions to cultural expression through poetry.