The use of Chichewa proverbs as a political campaign tool in Saulos Klaus Chilima’s speeches




Chilima, Chichewa proverbs, political speeches, campaign, elections, conceptual metaphor, political discourse


This paper examines Saulos Klaus Chilima’s (henceforth referred to as Chilima) use of Chichewa proverbs during the Malawi 2019 presidential election campaign period as a campaign tool. It seeks to highlight how Chilima (re)used Chichewa proverbs to solicit voters for himself and discredit his opponents in the presidential race. The study uses the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, and seeks to identify metaphors generated by the proverbs that Chilima uses and map them across domains. Further, the study demonstrates how the meanings mapped across domains relate to his political campaign for presidency. The results indicate that the political context which he created by the usage of the proverbs narrowed and refocused the proverbs’ meaning in such a way that his political ideas were understood through cultural lens. This was done through the metaphors that the proverbs generated. Chilima drew from the source domains that people are familiar with, such as family, building, animals, and humans. These metaphors along with the entire speech context of the proverb helped Chilima persuade voters. The study concludes that proverbs and the metaphors they generate can be a political tool for campaigning for oneself and de-campaigning against opponents.


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How to Cite

Ndalama-Mtawali, D., & Kamanga, M. (2023). The use of Chichewa proverbs as a political campaign tool in Saulos Klaus Chilima’s speeches. Studies in African Languages and Cultures, (57), 101–123.