Research Article

Metaphors as strategic manoeuvring in isiXhosa traditional argumentative political discourse

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 40, issue 2, 2020 , pages: 198–207
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2020.1804282
Author(s): Zameka Paula Sijadu, South Africa


The theoretical framework of argumentation as advanced by Van Eemeren and Grootendorst is used to explore the quality of argumentative segments in the traditional political setting as portrayed in AC Jordan’s isiXhosa novel Ingqumbo Yeminyanya, self-translated as The Wrath of the Ancestors. This article examines the extent to which the extended-pragma dialectic theoretical framework can be used in the analysis and evaluation of metaphors in the different argumentative discourse segments of the characters to defend their institutional goals (culture and traditions of their kingdom) effectively. Discussants have a tendency of focusing on their rhetoric objectives of effectiveness, while ignoring the dialectic objectives of reasonableness. Van Eemeren emphasises that a successful defence of a standpoint is not just about defending standpoints effectively based on rhetorical strategies, but also about being mindful of dialectical procedures of reasonableness stated in the ideal model of the critical discussion. This traditional novel was selected for this article because of its rich metaphoric discourse, which the characters in this text effectively use as part of cultural preservation. The research postulates that traditional leaders employ metaphors as rhetorical devices that have three specific implications, namely the nation as family, the government as parent, and the citizens as children. These metaphors are used as strategic manoeuvring and are employed by the traditional leaders of the novel to enhance the persuasiveness of arguments in traditional political discourse.

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