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A New Literary Genre

The Art of Taking Care of Ubuntu in People and Communities

  1. The modern kasàlà shares several features with the African Praise Poetry from which it derives :

It is generally created in writing, before being performed, while the traditional form is purely oral.
2. A form of praise (self-praise or other-praise) and a path for a person’s enfolding :

a) It is an improvised or written poem, recited or read, preferably in front of an audience, through which an individual consents to offer the best of him- or herself, allows him- or herself to be seen in his or her innermost being, where wonderment emerges.

b) It is a ritual practice that builds the confidence in yourself and in the other person, frees the human being from himself or herself and creates a new and powerful feeling of unity, as well as complicity between the living beings.

c) It is an art of revelation, that deploys the life force in the person and reveals him/her to himself/herself as well as to the community.

d) It is a way towards knowledge and wisdom and offers a shared horizon of meaning.

3. A poem recited in public, with the intention :

a) Of honoring and celebrating someone :

  • By calling them into being

  • By placing them in their lineage and community

  • By assigning them their legitimate place among their community and humanity

  • By lighting up their inner beauty and genius (intelligence, potentials promise)

  • By proclaiming in public the good news about them

b) Of cultivating friendliness towards the person and gratitude towards life.

4. An action-poem, focused on the future and aiming at :

a) Developing a positive voice in our mind, that gives us access to inner energy and allows us to use it to transform or heal our inner suffering or pain.

b) Exhorting ourselves to use our inner power, in order to propel ourselves beyond our societal conditioning.

c) Gaining freedom from our ego, race, gender and rising above ourselves.

5. A vehicle : 

a) Of vital force.

b) Of essential values (such as courage, joy…).

c) Of a wider world vision.

d) Of sense, knowledge and living connections.

6. An invitation to :

a) Stand.

b) Learn how to better love ourselves, others and life.

c) Discover or invent our own style.

7. An art :

a) Of living while standing on our feet.

b) Of creating life.

c) Of celebrating life in people.

d) Of expressing and sharing inner force and beauty.

8. Semantically :

The kasàlà is based on the extensive use of the so-called praise names or strong names, often created with metaphors and emphasizing techniques.

The self-praise form is often used not only to praise oneself, but especially to praise other people or things.

Even when the beneficiary is "I", the kasàlà should not be mixed up with boasting or bragging !

9. Structurally :

The kasàlà is a poem of variable length (from a few lines to hundreds or thousands of lines).

It often combines the celebration of Other and Self, following the formula K=O+S, where K stands for kasàlà, O for Other and S for self. S has generally the value of a poetic signature. However each type of celebration can appear separately. Nature, concepts or any object can also be celebrated.

10. Conclusion :

The present-day kasàlà is a new literary genre.

Example of a poetic signature :



Who am I

I who am celebrating you ?

My name is Jandhi Kabuta The-Artist


Above all I am The-Maker-of-springboards

I offer my fellow man the most precious gift

Which anchors all of us in the mother earth

Which propels all of us beyond ourselves

So we really take care of one another

So peace abounds in you and me

In trees and birds here and there

I am The-Open-Eyed-Dreamer

I dream of faraway journeys

Beyond the horizon

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