Greener Journal of Social Sciences

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Nyoni and Nyoni

Greener Journal of  Social Sciences Vol. 3 (5), pp. 220-231, May 2013

  ISSN: 2276-7800 © 2011 GJSS

Research Paper

Vuya uhodhe! Unpacking the Form and Content of Informal Traders’ Advertisements: A Submission from the Railway Siding Market Expedition in Masvingo


1Mika Nyoni, 2Tsitsi Nyoni


1Curriculum Studies Department, Great Zimbabwe University

2Department of Teacher Development, Great Zimbabwe University,

Emails: tsinyoni @


Corresponding Author’s Email: mikanyoni @ gmail. com


This paper explores the linguistic repertoire of informal traders at the Railway Siding Market in Masvingo town, Zimbabwe. The researchers armed with notebooks, cell phones and video cameras recorded verbatim the advertisements on several days traversing the entire geography of the expansive market. The researchers did this in order to study the chosen phenomenon in situ observing the spirited advertising or the verbal gymnastics in the duel to bring bread and butter on the table. Interviews were also held with a few selected respondents. The paper argues that though the main activity engaged by the traders is a way to eke out a living and some may see their oral endeavours as nothing more than advertising, close scrutiny shows that those verbal efforts should be viewed as part of the rich African orature heritage adopting and adapting to a kaleidoscopic socio-politico-economic terrain. From the analysis of the linguistic data gathered one can witness a plethora of linguistic processes at play including borrowing, extension, narrowing, coinage, anti-language, among many. Also discernible from the code used and the material gathered and analyzed are the values, attitudes and stereotypes of the speech community which are discussed in this paper.

Keywords: Form, Content, Informal traders, Advertisements, Oral Literature.

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