Relationship between texts and contexts of federo songs in Uganda
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This dissertation is about the relationship between context and texts of federo songs in Uganda. Federo, the theme of these songs, refers to a form of self-governance and federalists are its advocates. While federo is advocated for by other ethnic regions of Uganda, its stronghold is in Buganda (central Uganda), the home of the Baganda Bantu-speaking people whose language is called Luganda. I examine music as a distinct form of oral literature, which has historically been a great voice for communicating human concerns and this study reveals that federo songs are popular constructions of federo. In this dissertation, I argue that the relationship between texts and contexts is dialectical. While the songs articulate Buganda’s quest for federo, the federo movement and the issues on which it is founded, shape the songs. The study reveals that federo songs have been used as a means of advancing the debate on federo and act as a voice for not only the Baganda federalists, but also other people in Uganda who are advocating for a federal system of governance. The theoretical stance for this dissertation is informed by the argument that analysis of popular music cannot be based only on music as an object, but also rather, on the contextual and textual nature of the songs. Basing on a selection of nine audio recordings of popular federo songs, I examined the relationship between their texts and contexts. I discuss federo songs as social phenomena, which respond to Buganda’s quest for federo. I argue that the creation of federo songs consists of interplay of social actors, culture, identity, politics and power relations which constitute the structure of federo as social phenomena. I examine literature related to the study in Chapter Two, with the purpose of establishing the state of research on texts and contexts of federo songs. I particularly analyze literature on federo songs, popular music in Uganda, and Buganda’s quest for federo. On federo songs, I note a concentration and focus on newspaper articles that are not written with scientific methodology. There is also inadequate literature on popular music in Uganda, therefore I make use of the available of writings on popular music in general, which inform the controversial definition of the term popular music. Inadequate research on Buganda’s quest for federo also accounts for the nature of review on the theme in this dissertation. However, there are number of journalistic writings that are reviewed despite their limitedness in scientific methodology. For the collection of data, I employed qualitative research methodology, which is discussed in Chapter Three. Qualitative methodology, is appropriate for the description, analysis and reporting of social phenomena. Given the descriptive nature of data such a study would call for, I employed interviews, participant observation, media, library and archival research as research tools for this study. In order to situate the discussion on federo songs, in a social, cultural, economic and political context, in Chapter Four, I discuss these contexts. In this chapter, I discuss Buganda’s loss of power, Kiganda identity, abolition of the Buganda Kingdom, rationale for federo, and Buganda’s political strategies for federo, all of which inform the background to understanding the texts of the federo songs. I contend that there is an intersection between historical events and the creation of federo songs. The analysis of the texts of federo songs is in Chapter Five, in which the study reveals that federo songs participate in the construction of a Kiganda identity, and a united front strategy for federo. These federo songs articulate federo as a strategy for economic development, while at the same time they are political voices especially where verbal communication is rather dangerous. Chapter Six concludes, summarizes the dissertation, while it also offers recommendations for further studies, especially in areas that the researcher was not able to handle. This study found that the relationship between the texts and context of federo songs is dialectical and that federo songs are popular constructions of federo, that validated the hypotheses of the study.