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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Old Women in Zulu Culture: The Old Woman and Childbirth
Author:Brindley, Marianne
Periodical:South African Journal of Ethnology
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:elderly women
birth rites
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:The author presents part of the results of her fieldwork among the Zulu people of Nkandla, in which she focused on the role of women past the age of childbearing. This article dealing with childbirth indicates the extensive involvement of old women in the major stages of procreation: conception, pregnancy, confinement, and postpartum period. Accumulated know- ledge and experience, but also associations of purity, appear to be the crucial characteristics determining the roles of old women. The positions of mother-in-law and paternal grandmother in particular, enable a women to wield considerable power and influence. The author concludes that the action-patterns of old women at a confinement are indicative of an area of cultural life in which women have symbolic power over men. - Ref., sum. in Afrikaans.