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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Tempora et Mores: Family Values and the Possessions of a Post-Apartheid Countryside
Author:White, Hylton
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
labour migration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1581469
Abstract:This paper examines a set of ritual responses to the challenges that postapartheid South Africa's political economy poses to projects of domestic reproduction in the former Bantustan countryside of Zululand, where unemployment has limited the capacities of young men to create marital households. In 1996-1997 the author spent 15 months doing ethnographic fieldwork in Mfanefile, a settlement of several thousand black Zulu-speaking households in Zululand's central interior. In the case study on which the paper is based, one man's misfortunes are connected by divination to the spirit of an older kinsman who disappeared while working as a labour migrant. The author argues that this connection and the rituals meant to confront it turn on fraught symbolic relations between the present and two pasts: the past of apartheid migrancy and a projected past of custom. Like the ghosts by which they are manifest, these times trouble domestic life in the present because of contradictory developments forcing unemployed migrants back on the values of private spheres while they undermine the bases of rural households. Bibliogr., notes, sum.