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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Monze Rain Festival: The History of Change in a Religious Cult in Zambia
Authors:O'Brien, Dan
O'Brien, Carolyn
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Zambia
Tonga (Zambia, Zimbabwe)
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/221359
Abstract:The accepted ethnographic view of the Tonga of Zambia has been that they presented the appearance of a disparate migratory group without any apparent cohesion of an ethnic, political, or religious nature. Yet by the mid-20th century, the scattered settlements of people speaking Tonga and its related dialects had for a considerable time acknowledged the religious preeminence of the shrine of Monze and its owner, 'the Rainmaker Monze'. This article argues that an evolution of the 'Monzeship' among the Tonga had commenced by the end of the 19th century, encompassing both the religious phenomenon of the rain shrine and incipient phases of a more secularized chieftaincy institution. The article deals with the historical position of the Monze, using evidence from local oral tradition and some early written work, analyses the songs and ritual of the Monze Lwiindi or Rainfestival, and shows the gradual politicization of the religious role of the Monze in response to invasions of Tongaland by Ndebele, Lozi, and the BSAC (British South Africa Company). App., notes, ref.