Okot’s Aesthetics Revisited: On Symbolic and Parabolic Expression in Song of Lawino
Keywords:Aesthetics, Okot, Parables, Song of Lawino, Symbols
Song of Lawino remains a majestic imprint in East African literary map. On its publication in 1968, Lindfors (1984) asserts that “Okot was immediately recognized as a classical African poet’ (44). Initially written in Acoli language, the book received acclaims the world over as a new bearing for African literary artists. Since then, it continues to occupy its own niche in 21st century, which is affirmed in introduction to the 2014 impression of Song of Lawino: ‘Okot’s work will not cease to be relevant for a long time to come’ (10). Okot was honoured posthumously in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Song of Lawino on 18th March 2016 at Makerere University and Kenyatta University, literature department in a colloquium held in December 2016. The immense interest in the work is shown in translations into Luganda and then Sheng by J.K.S. Makokha, which has been appreciated by Wanambisi (1984), Mugambi (1992) and others as being African and unique art. This paper intends to add a voice in the appreciation of Song of Lawino Fifty years since its publication. The author contends that the book utilizes symbols and allegory in expressing its concerns. The paper contends that Song of Lawino utilizes symbols in communicating its concerns and at the same time the work can be read as a parable. The author identifies the various types of symbols and their relevance in expressing themes. In addition, the paper provides a parabolic reading of Okot’s work, Song of Lawino. These two lenses of studying, is hoped, will allow an in-depth study of the work.
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