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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Invoking the Female Vusha Ceremony and the Struggle for Identity and Security in Tshiendeulu, Venda
Author:Jeannerat, Caroline
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:girls' initiation
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Religion and Witchcraft
External links:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02589009708729604
Abstract:Fieldwork carried out in the early 1990s in the village of Tshiendeulu, in former Venda, South Africa, on perceptions of change in the areas of identity, sexuality, and intergenerational and gender relationships, elicited powerful invocations of how things 'ought' to be from older women. The 'vhusha' initiation ceremony for girls was one of the areas through which the opposition and tension between the imagined past and perceived present was expressed and reflected upon by these women. This paper commences with an idealized description of the 'vhusha' ceremony as presented by the older women. Through the ceremony these women thought to construct a particular identity and behaviour pattern for younger women and to establish control and authority over them. In the second part of the paper the analysis focuses on how this was ideally done, namely through the laws taught, secrecy, bodily experiences, pain, fear and silence. In the last section the reasons for the adherence by the older women to the 'traditional' are examined by comparing and contrasting their views of the ceremony and its relevance to social life with those of younger women. Bibliogr., notes, ref.