This study examined manifestations of power and marginality in Sukuma marriage practices. The study was conducted in Kishapu District, Tanzania. It drew its materials from Sukuma marriage rituals, which include singing and performance of songs. The study adopted an ethnographic research design and used both primary and secondary data to analyse the construction of gender roles in songs and societal views. The songs were observed at live performances, and data related to their composition, interpretation, and impact were gathered through interviews with the singers. Thematic Code Analysis was used to analyze the data, which were then interpreted based on poststructuralist theory. The results obtained showed that Sukuma marriage songs present and propagate imbalanced gender roles. It was further found that these songs impliedly bolster gender inequality leading to women’s subordination and men’s authority over women in Sukuma society.

Author Biography

Esther Julius Masele is a Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Dodoma, Tanzania. She holds a PhD in Literature where she specialized on gender issues in oral literature. Her research interest extends over a wide range of philosophical issues with special focus on literature and gender. She is available in: ejmasele@yahoo.com.

Venkatachalam Lakshmanan is a Professor of English specializing in literary theory and criticism and discourse analysis. He has taught in universities in India, Libya and New Zealand and is currently at the University of Dodoma. He can be accessed at: vlakshmanan44@gmail.com.