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Harnessing the ancestors: uncertainty and ritual practice in the Eastern Cape

Ainslie, A. (2020) Harnessing the ancestors: uncertainty and ritual practice in the Eastern Cape. In: Bank, L., Posel, D. and Wilson, F. (eds.) Migrant Labour after Apartheid: The Inside Story. HSRC Press, Pretoria, South Africa, pp. 349-371. ISBN 9780796925794

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In this chapter, I explore how rural and urban-based women and men – through their selective engagement with specific cultural norms – contest the spaces opened up by their shared desire to fund, prepare for and perform rituals. I demonstrate how people across Ngqushwa Municipality rhetorically and practically link ritual to the central cultural tropes that stress mutual support and reciprocity at two levels: (1) intrahomestead through ukwakh’umzi (to build the home) and (2) inter-homestead through masincedisane (let us help each other). I suggest that their activities and interactions during the consumption of traditional beer, brandy and the meat of ritually slaughtered animals are geared towards performing and contesting these two cultural scripts.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of International Development
ID Code:91987
Uncontrolled Keywords:migrant labour; South Africa; Eastern Cape Province; rituals; ancestors
Publisher:HSRC Press


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