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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Matriliny and Pawnship in Central Africa
Author:Douglas, Mary
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Southern Africa
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Gluckman, in his introduction to 'The Lamba Village', raised the question of a recognizable type of 'Central African' kinship organization. Father de Sousberghe's latest report on the Pende (1963) stimulates a radical revision of assumptions about Central African ethnography. The author of the present paper raises again Gluckman's original question and answers it by saying that not so long ago the Cewa, Yao, Nyanja, Ambo and Ndembu were organized in corporate groups in the fullest sense. Members of these corporate groups were able to claim transmissible rights in persons through the institution which the author calls pawnship. When she reported on the Lele system of pawnship (1960), she thought it was something special in African ethnography. Father de Sousberghe's paper on Pende marriage, with its fuller description of pawn lineages, brought home to her that from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean there is a zone of matrilineal peoples who have practised one form of pawnship or another in the recent past. Follows discussion of this system among the groups of Lele, Teke, Lunda, Kongo, Bemba, Maravi, Yao. Map; Bibliography; French summary.