Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The religious significance of the Nyao among the Chewa of Malawi
Author:Van Breugel, J.W.M.
Periodical:Cultures et développement
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:African religions
secret societies
Abstract:Study of the Nyao, a secret society of dancers using masks and animal figures among the Chewa of Malawi, to which the author gained access by going through a form of 'initiation' in April 1976. The word Nyao is not only used for the association, but also for the dancers, their dance, the masks and the animal figures. Attention is paid to the origin of the Nyao, its evolution, its nature, the 'owners' of the Nyao (i.e. the chiefs) and Nyao officers, the animal structures and masks, the places where the Nyao gather, the occasions at which the Nyao dance takes place, the initiation ceremony, and the religious significance of the Nyao dance. The Nyao dance appears to be a ritual fertility dance in an atmosphere of mystery and proximity to the 'mizimu' of the dead, and in dependence on the local chief who is the link between the living and the dead. Notes, ref.