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|Leiden University catalogue
|More Than One Paramount Chief in One Chieftaincy? The Gender of Maintaining Worlds
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Political customs and rites
|A chieftaincy usually has one paramount chief. However the Mutema chieftaincy, one of the Ndau-Shona chieftaincies in Chipinge district in Zimbabwe, has more than one paramount chief, namely one of the government and one or two of the ancestors. The authors explore the reasons behind this phenomenon, using material gathered during fieldwork in 1994-1996. They compare five different lists of paramount chiefs of the Mutema chieftaincy and show that they are the construction of those who compiled them. They then look at the rules used by the royal families for selecting a paramount chief and the divergent rules used by government officials, who base their choice on age alone. Both spirit mediums, chiefs and government officials use and transform the rules in their own interests, in order to maintain their own worlds from which they derive their authority, enabling them to wield power. In the penultimate section, the authors describe the enthroning ceremony of the government paramount chief which took place on 19 July 1996 in Ngaone village. In the final section, they look at the intertwined worlds of government officials and chiefs and suggest that it is the woman spirit medium of the chieftaincy who emerges as a powerbroker and mediator between the two. App., bibliogr., notes, ref.