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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Administrators, Anthropologists and 'Traditionalists' in Colonial Swaziland: The Case of 'amaBhaca' Fines
Author:Macmillan, HughISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Swaziland - Eswatini
Great Britain
marriage rites
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology and Archaeology
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161132
Abstract:This article explains why social anthropologists working in southern Africa in the 1930s were so ill equipped to distinguish between real and invented traditions or old and revived customs. The core of the article is a contemporary account of the history of an aspect of custom relating to the control within the age grade ('libutfo') or regimental system of the age at marriage of men in Swaziland. The article examines the motives of the Swazi authorities in attempting to revive in the late 1920s and early 1930s the custom of fining men who married before their age grade had been given permission for them to do so. It also considers the attitude of members of the colonial administration towards the revival of this custom and the part played by members of the administration, especially A.G. Marwick, in the formulation of the 'traditionalist' agenda. It examines the way in which social anthropologists were recruited in support of the 'traditionalist' programme and notes their failure to comment on the fact that custom was being revived. It argues that the functionalist approach of these anthropologists made them insensitive to history and discontinuity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.