Are Women Devils? The Portrayal of Women in Tanzanian Popular Music

Of the main musical trends in Tanzania, ‘muziki wa dansi’ is undoubtedly the most popular. This music is usually performed live in bars or social clubs by groups called ‘jazz bands’ or ‘orchestras’. The declared aim of these groups is to educate the masses, to promote the national ideology of socialism and self-reliance, and to entertain the masses. From the very beginning women have been the central subject of ‘muziki wa dansi’. This paper analyses the portrayal of women in this type of music; specifically, the portrayal of women as evil in a limited number of songs composed in the 1980s. The analysis shows that women in ‘muziki wa dansi’ are portrayed as being too weak to resist temptation, as having an insatiable greed for wealth and luxury, and as destroyers of marriages. The paper is followed by a formal and stylistic analysis by Rose-Marie Beck of one of the most popular songs of ‘muziki wa dansi’, ‘Mwanameka’, composed by Marijani Rajab in the early 1980s (p. 115-132). Notes, ref., text of the song (p. 91-97).

Title: Are Women Devils? The Portrayal of Women in Tanzanian Popular Music
Author: Mekacha, Rugatiri D.K.
Year: 1992
Periodical: Matatu: Journal for African Culture and Society
Notes: Special issue on: Sokomoko: Popular Culture in East Africa
Volume: 9
Pages: 99-113
Language: English
Geographic term: Tanzania
Abstract: Of the main musical trends in Tanzania, ‘muziki wa dansi’ is undoubtedly the most popular. This music is usually performed live in bars or social clubs by groups called ‘jazz bands’ or ‘orchestras’. The declared aim of these groups is to educate the masses, to promote the national ideology of socialism and self-reliance, and to entertain the masses. From the very beginning women have been the central subject of ‘muziki wa dansi’. This paper analyses the portrayal of women in this type of music; specifically, the portrayal of women as evil in a limited number of songs composed in the 1980s. The analysis shows that women in ‘muziki wa dansi’ are portrayed as being too weak to resist temptation, as having an insatiable greed for wealth and luxury, and as destroyers of marriages. The paper is followed by a formal and stylistic analysis by Rose-Marie Beck of one of the most popular songs of ‘muziki wa dansi’, ‘Mwanameka’, composed by Marijani Rajab in the early 1980s (p. 115-132). Notes, ref., text of the song (p. 91-97).