Social Strategies Used by the Kipsigis Women to Contest Patriarchal Structures as Highlighted in the Songs of Diana Chemutai Musila and Babra Chepkoech
Many women in Kenya, and in particular those in the Kipsigis community, are still faced with many challenges due to the patriarchal nature of their society, although the new Kenya constitution passed in 2010 provides a framework for attaining gender equality. Among the many methods of protest, art has been used in many societies as an instrument for contesting social ills including patriarchy. This has also been true to the Kipsigis community. Therefore, this research aimed to investigate the use of selected popular Kipsigis songs of Diana Chemutai Musila (Chelele) and Babra Chepkoech to contest patriarchy. Specifically, the study analysed the aspects of patriarchal oppression of the Kipsigis women as depicted in the selected Kipsigis songs; explored ways used by the Kipsigis women to contest patriarchy as highlighted in the selected Kipsigis songs and examined the literary devices used by the selected singers to expose patriarchal oppression in the selected Kipsigis songs. The target population were ten songs from the two Kipsigis artists. These artists and their songs were chosen purposively. The study was guided by American feminist literary critic and writer Elaine Showalter’s feminist ideas to explore how the artists capture the experiences of the Kipsigis women in their songs. Specifically, the study used theory to describe the existing tendencies of patriarchy in the Kipsigis society as depicted in the community’s Kipsigis songs. The data was analysed thematically and interpreted in line with the research objectives, the reviewed literature and the theoretical framework adopted for the study. The research established that popular songs, in general, are used not only for entertainment but also to address issues of great concern for society such as fighting for equity among spouses in the Kipsigis community. The study saw that there was/is need for composers to develop music that portrays positive roles of members of both genders, which could lead to the realization of an equiponderant society where men and women coexist peacefully.
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