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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Widows and ritual danger in Sotho and Tswana communities
Author:Pauw, B.A.ISNI
Year:1990
Periodical:African Studies
Volume:49
Issue:2
Pages:75-99
Language:English
Geographic terms:South Africa
Botswana
Lesotho
Subjects:Sotho
Tswana
rites of passage
widows
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Religion and Witchcraft
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189008707728
Abstract:Crucial to this article is a complex of symbols of ritual danger and related concepts and rites found among North Sotho-speaking and Tswana-speaking people. The term ritual danger is preferred to pollution in referring to the complex since dirt is only one of the symbols of danger involved, other major ones being heat, darkness and shadow. Field material from the Phokwane chiefdom, collected by the author in 1977 and 1982, is compared with data from the Mashabela chiefdom (1977) and H.O. Mönnig's material on the Pedi (1961-1966), all three being North Sotho and in Lebowa, South Africa, as well as with I. Schapera's material on the Kgatla (Tswana) of Motshodi (Mochudi) in Botswana (1929-1934), and with the author's material from Manamakgothe (1987), a 'village' or settlement in a Kgatla chiefdom in Bophuthatswana. Reference is also made to W.D. Hammond-Tooke's limited material on Kgaga (North Sotho) widows. Three matters receive special attention: the taboos that have to be observed by widows, the degree of mourning and danger, and the symbolic significance of widows' observances. The material presented here reveals predominant continuity of the rituals of widowhood and the ritual danger complex in general, with pre-Western indigenous traditions among large portions of the population. Bibliogr., note.
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