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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ritualizing and domesticating space: 'kaņeleng' women coping with childlessness in the Gambia
Author:Saho, Bala
Year:2012
Periodical:Mande Studies
Issue:14
Pages:99-125
Language:English
Geographic term:Gambia
Subjects:infertility
women
initiation
rituals
women's organizations
Abstract:This study examines how kaņeleng (or childless) women in the Gambia cope with the challenges of childlessness and come to appropriate, domesticate, and own particular spaces. The emphasis is on traditional processes and mechanisms such as visiting a marabout or a shrine or going through a ritual that initiates the women to kaņeleng associations. A kaņeleng is a woman who cannot bear children or whose children die at an early age. Compared with visiting a hospital or clinic, the traditional approaches are not only more affordable, but the rituals also produce a strong sense of cultural empowerment by giving the women a chance to reconstruct their identities and lives. The rites confirm not only the pragmatic utility of the rituals in transforming the aspirant from a childless woman to a fertile woman, but also elevate the status of the specific landscape on which 'the rite of passage' is conducted to attain sacred status or confirm the sacrality of the place. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]
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