Cultural Values In The Mwindo Epic

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Throughout African history the theme of what constitutes a quality leader appears yet again and again. Quality leaders reflect the values of their people. Conversely, immoral leaders personify the negation of these values; they corrupt the society they rule with their venality. In the Mwindo epic two leaders emerge: Shemwindo, whose avaricious desire for power perverts his rule, and Mwindo, a rising leader still learning how to improve. With the epic’s expression of Nyanga values one learns what defines leadership in that society, particularly through showcasing the contrasts between Mwindo and his father and describing Mwindo’s physical and emotional journey. To understand Mwindo’s establishment as a quality leader one must understand Nyanga cultural values. Three cultural values surface throughout the Mwindo epic: kinship, forgiveness, and humility. Kinship’s importance appears in a multitude of ways. In Nyanga culture, one calls his or her cousins sister or brother to emphasis the closeness of the relationship between kin (pg. 45). When Iyangura refers to Mwindo as her child it is not because she is the biological mother but rather because aunts, uncles, and cousins are essentially considered as part of the nuclear family unit. There is …show more content…
Kinship supports the leader in his or her endeavors. Forgiveness provides an opportunity for growth, and humility recognizes a leader’s limitations. Mwindo does not start out a great leader; by undertaking the mission of confronting his father and leading his people he becomes one. Shemwindo, on the other hand, may have started out great but unfortunately allows his greed to pervert him. He loses everything he has, but does learn of his own wrongdoings. Quality leadership in African culture notably continues to be discussed as leader after leader takes

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