An African Worldview: the Muslim Amacinga Yawo of Southern Malawi

Released in March 2012 by Malawian-based Kachere Series, An African Worldview: the Muslim Amacinga Yawo of Southern Malawi is a 510-page work focusing on the life and culture of the Amacinga Yawo people. (Copies can be purchased at bookstores throughout Malawi where Kachere materials are sold, as well as ordered online at Amazon and other retailers OR through contacting this website. E-book editions to follow.)

About the Book

In this book Ian Dicks informs the reader about the ways in which the Yawo of Malawi view the world. The Yawo are predominantly Muslim, yet many maintain strong links with their traditional religion. They are a largely oral society, teaching and reinforcing their beliefs and practices using oral literature, which includes myths, proverb, proverbial stories, songs of advice and prayers at various stages of the life cycle, particularly during initiation events.

Ian Dicks describes in detail the Yawo’s material world, customs, beliefs and rituals, and juxtaposes these with Yawo oral literature. He then examines them under six worldview categories, the result being a rich description of the way in which the Yawo see the world. This book is not an armchair study but has the feel of being written by an eyewitness, by someone who has had first-hand experience of the subject and who seeks to describe this in a manner which is sensitive to the Yawo and their culture.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    Different ways to give a gift!
    The need for understanding worldview
    The Muslim Yawo
    Theoretical perspective
    People of influence
    The book’s structure
  2. Worldview
    Worldview: The development of the concept
    Worldview: The eighteenth century until the twenty-first century
    Towards a definition of worldview and its function in life
    The function of worldview
    What shapes a worldview?
    What changes worldview?
    Understanding worldview in order to bring about change
    Worldview categories
  3. The material world, customs and rituals of the Muslim Amacinga Yawo
    Material culture and customs
    Social system
    Yawo religious structure and practice
    Amacinga Yawo traditional religion
    Rituals and ceremonies
    Yawo leadership
    Boy’s rite of passage: Jando
    Birth rites: Litiwo
    Girl’s rite of passage: Msondo
    Funeral: Malilo
  4. Yawo Islam and Islamized Yawo: the little and the great tradition
    The Establishment of Islam amongst the Yawo
    Types of Religious Systems
    The Stages of Yawo Islamization
    Differences between the Qadiriyya and the Sukuti
  5. Toward a hermeneutic of Yawo oral literature
    Toward an understanding of the Yawo proverb
    Interpreting the Yawo proverb
    Toward an understanding of Yawo narrative
    Interpreting Yawo narrative
    Toward an understanding of Yawo initiation songs
    Interpreting the Yawo initiation songs
    Toward an understanding of Yawo traditional prayers
  6. Toward an understanding of a Yawo worldview

Appendices : Introduction
Appendix 1 : Corpus of Yitagu ni Adisi
Appendix 2 : Corpus of Adisi
Appendix 3 : Corpus of Ngani Sya Kalakala
Appendix 4 : Corpus of Misyungu ja Jando
Appendix 5 : Corpus of Misyungu ja Msondo
Appendix 6 : Corpus of Misyungu ja Litiwo
Appendix 7 : Corpus of Misyungu Ja Ucimwene
Appendix 8 : Corpus of Mapopelo
Appendix 9 : Types of Religious Groups in T.A. Jalasi
Appendix 9a : Survey of Islamic groups in T.A. Jalasi 2007
Appendix 9b : Survey of Islamic groups in T.A. Jalasi 2008

An African Worldview front cover
An African Worldview back cover

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