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“Summoning together all the people”: Variant tellings of the Mwindo epic as social and political deliberation

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Chapter Summary

The author argues that the reiterations of a given epic tradition do not have to be, as some might say, the source of a fundamentally static cultural dispensation. The critical element of this chapter, which focuses exclusively on the content of the Mwindo epic tradition, will demonstrate that each of the four transcribed variants of the Mwindo epic expresses a significantly different take on the political difficulties arising from a concern absolutely central to Banyangan culture. That concern is the political succession of old chief to new. The author wants to show that their epic oral tradition provides models of the alternate modes of thought and conduct needed when decisions based either on patriarchal authority or on the rule of primogeniture would result in inadequate new leadership.

Keywords: Banyangan culture; Deliberation; Greek tragedy; Mateene; Mwindo; Mwindo epic tradition; Mwindo variants; People: Variant Tellings; primogeniture rule; Summoning



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