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Title:An encroachment of ecological sacred sites and its threat to the interconnectedness of sacred rituals: a case study of the Tonga people in Gwembe Valley
Author:Siwila, Lilian
Periodical:Journal for the Study of Religion (ISSN 1011-7601)
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:Tonga (Zambia, Zimbabwe)
environmental management
Abstract:All too often people's sacred sites and rituals are either destroyed or relocated to other sites in the name of development. This paper discusses the value of sacred sites and rituals in connection to issues of ecology, looking at sacred sites of the Tonga people of the Gwembe valley (southern Zambia). The paper begins with a brief discussion of the ecological system in the Tonga area and the effects of the construction of the Kariba dam in the 1950s on local people's religiosity, worldviews and perceptions of environmental issues. The paper then discusses the lwiindi ceremony, a ceremony relating to rainfall and crop yields. It is argued that the Tonga people's indigenous religion is embedded in their understanding of ecological sites and rituals. Development programmes should take these beliefs into consideration. Without romanticising indigenous knowledge as though it involves no ecological challenges, an attitude of respect for people's religious beliefs and spiritualities will enhance environmental care. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]