Development of hymnody in Zambia
Chuba, Bwalya Shinina
This thesis discusses the development of Hymnody in Zambian churches since Christian missions came to Zambia late in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It begins with a brief description of Zambia's geographical and political position, the establishment of major missions, and the history of some of the main Zambian hymn books: PEMS, LMS & CMML, UMCA, AMEC, BIC, RCZ, MMS and CCAP. Twenty hymnals from Europe and America from which translations of English hymns were developed, have been selected. These are compared with the Union Bemba hymnal published in 1932 for the LMS and the CMML in Zambia. This hymnal also shares many hymns in common with the four Zambian hymnals: (RCZ), (AMEC),(CCAP) and (UMCA), as illustrated in Appendix A. The thesis reviews the problems of translated hymnody in Zambia, as caused by problems of melody, intonation and metre, and the way in which language and cultural differences have resulted in loss or distortion of useful meanings of the original hymns. Despite early efforts made by some missionaries to contextualize worship in the country, missionary policy in general ignored the many valuable musical resources available among the Zambians. Nevertheless, there is a tradition of indigenous Zambian hymnody, exemplified in the Tumbuka hymns of Northern Zambia and Malaroi, the hymns composed by the school girls at Mbeleshi, the Ngwewa hymns and other indigenous hymns of the Methodist Church, the AME Church indigenous hymns and the Lumpa Church hymns. The thesis examines the process of revision of translated hymns, stating those hymns that, through revision work, have been transformed into Zambian hymnody, and those that have been omitted. It discusses the church choir movement in Zambia and the choir action songs with their prominent features, circulating in Zambian churches but which remain oral supplements to the translated hymns. The thesis explores the traditional resources on which Zambia's indigenous hymnody can draw, in form, content, and instru1nentation, such as Zambian traditional singers: such as royal singers, ceremonial singers and society oriented songsters; Occasion songs: such as entertainment and social songs, songs by preservationist traditional singers, funeral dirges and dedication songs; and modern folk singers, as well as Zambian instruments. The thesis ends with suggestions for a Composite Hymnal as a logical, economical and unifying tool for hymnody in Zambian churches, which Zambians themselves have a duty to create.