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A Postmodern Reading of Bodaboda Riders’ Verbal Performance: Constructing Gender and Sexuality through Mbaka in Western Kenya

Abstract : This paper focuses on mbaka, in Luo language, among motorbike (bodaboda) riders in a West Kenyan village at the shores of Lake Victoria called Nyakongo.1 Culturally, mbaka refers to verbal games. Through mbaka, the bodaboda riders are teasing, joking and playing with words. Their verbal games focus particularly on women and sexuality. For this reason, the study attempts to highlight how femininity, masculinity, gender relations and heterosexuality are constructed in young men’s mbaka. The riders’ audience includes market women and men operating small scale businesses. The mbaka verbal form does not follow the Aristotelian story model of beginning, middle and end. Rather, it consists of fragments of narratives and has no universal form and content. To analyze mbaka, I use a postmodern theoretical approach which assumes that there are no dominant or grand narratives and that every local and seeming micronarrative is grand in its own right. Conversations, interviews, and observations were the primary methods of data collection for the study whereas daily interaction with the motorbike operators in Nyakongo village was the principle way of obtaining relevant material,2 recorded in a notebook immediately or after. A handset was also used as a supplementary to the book. Relevant published and unpublished works provide a background and comparative material for the ongoing study.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03078661
Contributor : Bastien Miraucourt <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 6:20:30 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 30, 2020 - 4:42:04 PM

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Mary Achieng’ Obudho.. A Postmodern Reading of Bodaboda Riders’ Verbal Performance: Constructing Gender and Sexuality through Mbaka in Western Kenya. 2019, https://mambo.hypotheses.org/1718. ⟨halshs-03078661⟩

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