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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Religious ritual and political control in Binga District, Zimbabwe
Authors:Dzingirai, V.ISNI
Bourdillon, M.F.C.ISNI
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Subjects:ethnic relations
Tonga (Zambia, Zimbabwe)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Politics and Government
Binga District (Zimbabwe)
Tonga language (Zambezi)
Sacred space
Abstract:This article examines ways in which an economically and politically suppressed ethnic group, the indigenous Tonga of Binga District, in the north of Zimbabwe, exercises some, though very limited, political control over growing immigrant populations from the dominant Shona and Ndebele ethnic groups. The immigrants come from areas that have had more contact with colonial developments in the past and accordingly, they are more oriented to commercial agriculture than the Tonga. The immigrants also have more access to the political powers of the State, and assume a superior status to the local people. The Tonga, however, are descendants of the spirits who own the land. The fertility of the land is mediated by Tonga leaders, who alone can communicate with the spirits who own it. The Tonga use their religious traditions, by stressing their control over the fertility of the land through rituals of rain, by invoking the notion of sacred land, and through accusations of witchcraft, in an attempt to protect their resources for their own use, and to maintain some political control over their country in the face of the immigrant challenge. Bibliogr., notes, sum.