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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Marginality and Protest in the Sacred Wilderness: The Role of Women in Shaping Masowe Thought Pattern
Author:Mukonyora, Isabel
Periodical:SAFERE: Southern African Feminist Review (ISSN 1024-9451)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Subjects:religious movements
Cultural Roles
Religion and Witchcraft
Sex Roles
Masowe vapostori (African religious movement)
Traditional culture
External link:https://www.ajol.info/index.php/safere/article/view/23927
Abstract:The main focus of this paper is the role of women in the indigenous Christian sect 'Masowe vapostori' which has a strongish following among the Shona people of Zimbabwe, where the author conducted her research. 'Masowe vapostori' is a sect which is fairly widespread in southern Africa. It was founded in the 1930s by a man who called himself Johane Masowe (John of the Wildnerness) in what was then Southern Rhodesia. One striking aspect of the movement is that there is a majority of female adherents. Disregarding most older descriptions and explanations which were heavily male oriented, the author endeavours to discover the reason for this preponderance of women. As all services are held in the 'sowe', a sacred place, chosen because it is rather apart from society, she sees a parallel between the marginality of Shona women in their own society and also with the fact that most women's work takes them outdoors. In their eyes, the sacred wilderness is a place which is free from oppression. It is a place for healing, both physically and psychologically, where women, the perpetual 'vatorwa' (strangers) in Zimbawean society, can seek and find solace. Although also a product of his own time and culture, the author feels that the founder had a great deal of insight into women and their needs, even though now men are asserting themselves increasingly in the movement and taking over roles which they have recreated for themselves in a masculine image. This is just a beginning, there is much more which needs to be researched, including the sensitive issue of sexuality in 'Masowe' teaching. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]