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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Umgidi' at the Mabambas': gender, practice and performance among farm workers in the Sundays River Valley
Author:Connor, TeresaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
group identity
agricultural workers
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057071003607345
Abstract:This article examines an 'umgidi', a celebratory feast that usually accompanies the final 'coming out' phase of circumcision, among farm workers in the Sundays River Valley, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Anthropological monographs describing circumcision rituals among Xhosa speakers appear not to discuss such a feast at all, despite this event being familiar to most rural and urban Xhosa speakers. In the absence of comparative information, the article introduces an 'umgidi' feast as a multi-vocal event that comments on the spatial, performative and practice-oriented elements of life among workers in the Sundays River Valley. It shows that farm workers have a definite sense of identity and place connected to the occupation of land as labour tenants and later as labourers. Their conservative rural values are closely associated with the memories of previous land occupation, but are also combined with experiences of displacement, so that memories of lost land directly inform the creation of current identities. An 'umgidi' feast allows the unification of fragmented groups of kin and clan, and provides an opportunity for workers to articulate the pressures of modern farm employment. The prominence of female workers at 'umgidi' feasts also heightens the use of domestic space as an idiom for commentary on experiences of disruption and labour domination. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]