Lemba, 1650-1930: A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New by Janzen PDF

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Extra resources for Lemba, 1650-1930: A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New World

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For example, a Lemba inaugural in the Mboko-Nsongo/Kingoyi/ "Bakamba" region around 1910(analyzed at length in Chapter 4) cost the neophyte priest and his clan twenty-five pigs, numerous chickens, palm wine, and manioc loaves. Since pigs are hardly mentioned in the international trade literature—for reasons having to do with the transportation of pigs—it is necessary to convert this cost to items already mentioned. " The Lemba inauguration thus cost approximately twenty-five pigs, plus wine and chickens, and so forth; or 125 ntete baskets raphia at one pig/five baskets; or two and one-half persons, at ten pigs/one person.

The emergence of regional cults, and the waxing and waning of drums of affliction, religious movements, and shrines and therapeutic systems, are readily explained in terms of social change. Thus, Van Binsbergen, writing about the three major cults of affliction in Western Zambia— Nzila, Bituma, Moya—states that the political and economic changes of recent decades constitute the "motor" behind religious transformation. " In a comparable line of explanation, Van Velzen offers an explicitly materialist interpretation of the emergence of the Gaan Tata, highGod, cult among Bush Negro and Maroon tribes of Surinam and French Guiana, who from 1880 to 1920 and decreasingly thereafter controlled therivertraffic in connection with the exploitation of gold in the interior.

Furthermore, a given abstract and general currency tends to be only as stable as the political order of which it is ultimately a value symbol. There is greater security in the simul­ taneous use of several currencies or value symbols deriving from objects which meet widespread human needs, as do cloth, wine, chickens, and pigs. Thus, Lemba transactions, like those in the history of much of the trade, tend to occur in combinations (bundles) of items. For example, a Lemba inaugural in the Mboko-Nsongo/Kingoyi/ "Bakamba" region around 1910(analyzed at length in Chapter 4) cost the neophyte priest and his clan twenty-five pigs, numerous chickens, palm wine, and manioc loaves.

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