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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:In search of the turkana monster: Ang'u or the reinforcement of social values: a hypothesis
Authors:Bogers, K.ISNI
Wymeersch, P.ISNI
Berben, P.
Periodical:Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere: Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik
Geographic term:Kenya
myths (form)
Abstract:This paper examines the origin and evolution of the myth of the Ang'u monster among the Turkana of Kenya. It provides a psychological explanation as well as a structural analysis of the myth. Combining characteristics of human beings and animals, Ang'u is seen as a bridge between two worlds. Although he does not actually mediate between spirits and human beings, he unites several aspects of the profane and the sacred/taboo in an ambiguous way. He punishes individuals who break the social codes within Turkana society and his function, therefore, is to reinforce traditional values and norms. This interpretation of the Ang'u myth is then connected with Turner's analysis of ritual, in which three phases are distinguished: a separational phase, a liminal phase, and a phase during which a new role is acquired. The Ang'u, representing ambiguity, is seen as a personal liminal experience, not so much in a ritual context, but in daily life. Bibliogr., notes.