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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Releasing the widow': Xhosa beer drink oratory and status change
Author:MacAllister, P.A.ISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic terms:Transkei
South Africa
drinking customs
death rites
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Status of Women
Abstract:In Shixini administrative area of Willowvale district, Transkei, there is a wide variety of events, called beer drinks by the author, which occur at frequent intervals in the life of the community. This paper is concerned with beer drinks at the end of the mourning period after the death of a homestead head or senior person, and especially with the oratory aspect. Aim of the beer drink is to 'release' a widow from mourning the death of her husband. At such events the widow is addressed by senior members of the community with iziyalo ('instructions or admonitions') in what is often very skilful oratory. Before presenting examples of such speeches (in English and the Xhosa original) and an analysis, the author says something about beer drinks in general and the speaking that is an integral part of every beer drink, and also about the mourning procedure and what it is that the widow is being released from. Bibliogr., notes.