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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Kazanga festival: ethnicity as cultural mediation and transformation in central western Zambia
Author:Binsbergen, Wim M.J. vanISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:Zambia
traditional festivals
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/9067
Abstract:This paper explores the cultural dynamics of ethnicity in the context of a postcolonial African State, Zambia. The opening sections define ethnicity and pinpoint its central dilemma: while unmistakably constructed and thus selectively empowering the brokers coordinating the construction process, ethnicity nonetheless tends to pose as unchangeable, innate and inescapable. The paper then presents an analysis of the Kazanga festival which has been taking place since 1988 among the Nkoya in western Zambia. As an instance of ethnic self-representation vis--vis the national State, the annual festival brings out the extent to which cultural reconstruction in ethnicity radically transforms local historical cultural forms into a global idiom of performance, inequality along class and gender lines, and commodification or folklorization of culture. Yet such transformation is shown to have a revitalizing effect on local expressive culture and on the historic kingship, and is argued to be a survival strategy for local cultural forms in a globalizing world. The author attended the Kazanga festival in 1989, and again in 1994. In a postscript he outlines changes which have taken place since 1989. Notes, ref., sum.