The untold story of the Milalulu teasing songs.


The Pokomo is an ethnic group of Kenya, from the Bantu language group. They mostly live along the River Tana up to the delta where they grow crops. Their present day homeland is the Tana River County. The population of the Pokomo splits into two groups; the Upper Pokomo and the Lower Pokomo. Milalulu as a sub-tribe of Pokomo belongs to the Upper Pokomo.

Teasing songs are oral songs normally sang in any tribe to correct a behaviour of any individual in the community who went against the tribe’s customs and hence by putting such member of the community to shame because of disgraceful acts to the community.

Milalulu tends to accommodate such teasing songs. The sub-tribe occupies as from Ghalamani,Salama, Bohoni, Laini, Ovo,Makere, Dafoma, Hewani,Bububu, Amani,Kumbi, Rhoka,Hurara and Masabubu villages. The sub-tribe is under Chewani ward.

As it is well stated from the Milalulu community, when such a member went against the tribe’s customs and laws, the teasing songs are immediately ready for performance and the performance is done prior to the member’s house who erred as the their language confronts with the word (kudabha). The performance of the songs is done with the ( kingika) dance known by the locals.

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These songs try to humiliate the wrong doers who went against the cultural beliefs of the community. However, teasing songs from the Milalulu community,propagates the young and the old generations with moral lessons in order to keep off the vices.

According to Hasina Mgawa, an elder from the area, ” these teasing songs are meant to explore the cultural values which contains relevance in bringing a morally upright society.For example, it might happen some women practise abortion yet that’s a great shame for the community as most of them do not acquire genuine reasons and finally threw foetus on dustbins. We as a community have to condemn such disgraceful acts by performing such teasing songs and if possible we reach the relevant authorities to report the matter”, she added.

The elder went ahead to give out an example of a teasing song from the area.

Vija Odhu
Vija mweve naye kaja, anyu vake sikilileni,
Vija odhu, odhu ya kudava,
Ija naga? Ija mweve.

An information has come
An eagle has come, you women listen,
An information has come, information of errability,
Who came up with, it has come with an eagle.

On such a teasing song, it is sang by the women repeated several times and they are posing their message to all women. The women are supposed to assemble together as they move towards the woman who erred. The women are lamenting on how the information came on, an eagle has been used as symbolism. It symbolises the act of the member who went against the cultural beliefs of the society.

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The songs have put a great impact as on the other hand the government is very keen to intervene any such issues.

The teasing songs in the Milalulu sub-tribe of Pokomo, are good mode of teaching moral values and should continue,hence oral literature is among effective methods of teaching moral values to our children then it should be there in schools and it should be taught.



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