Malende, or beer songs, played an important part in family life: many social events called for the drinking of beer, particularly the organisation of work-parties, discussions about marriage arrangements, and celebrations of a birth or of the return of a young person from initiation school. Above all, families who were related by marriage sent each other gifts of beer, which generally gave rise to singing and dancing: in the course of this, the in-laws sang a series of songs that expressed the solidarity and cleavages within the two families, and allowed for friendly criticism. Even a ruler had to take in good part criticism that was expressed in beer songs.  

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