Beasts to beer pots - migrant labour and ritual change in Willowvale district, Transkei

McAllister, P.A. (1985) Beasts to beer pots - migrant labour and ritual change in Willowvale district, Transkei. African Studies, 44 (2). pp. 121-135. ISSN 0002-0184



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[From the introduction]: Why do some rituals disappear while others continue to be performed? Why do some persist in a relatively unaltered state while others are radically modified? In an article published in 1978 Monica Wilson drew attention to the scarcity of information on this subject, and proceeded to consider possible reasons for the 'resilience' of certain rituals, such as those accompanying initiation and death, and the 'obliteration' of others, such as those concerning the birth of twins. My concern in this paper is with the persistence and radical modification of a Gcaleka ritual called umhlinzeko or umsindleko, performed in celebration of the return of a migrant worker to his rural home. The earlier form of the ritual (umhlinzeko) is described and this is followed by an outline of the present-day form (umsindleko). The bulk of the paper is taken up with an attempt to explain why the one form gave way to another. In this respect the analysis concentrates on the relationship between the two forms and their socio-economic contexts, and tries to relate the changes in the form and meaning of the ritual to the changing economic and political circumstances affecting the Gcaleka and other Xhosa-speakers.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:labour migration; migrant workers; religious change; folk rituals; rites; rites and ceremonies; Gcaleka; Xhosa; drinking customs; alcohol use; social life and customs; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Anthropology
ID Code:817
Deposited On:23 Sep 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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