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Socio-Economic Flux and Tonga Rituals in Rural Zimbabwe

Joshua Matanzima, Codelia Govha Dhodho, Teverayi Muguti, Christopher Mweembe and Jennifer Muderedzi


Published: 2024/03/01


This article considers substantial changes that occurred in a number of Tonga rituals since their displacement from the Zambezi Valley to the uplands in northwestern Zimbabwe in 1958. The paper is based on the experiences of the Tonga speaking people of Binga, north-western Zimbabwe. The aim of the study was to analyze the changes and continuities in Tonga rituals over space and time since their displacement. This paper focuses on rituals and ceremonies associated with disability, marriage, and rainmaking. It draws on qualitative research including semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, participant observations, and document analysis. We noted that the resettlement and other socio-economic and environmental factors including Zimbabwe’s liberation war, politico-economic crises and conservation practices converged to wreak havoc on the socio-cultural practices of the Tonga speaking people. Today, there are [dis]continuities in some of the ritual processes. We found that due to the above factors some rituals are being avoided and procrastinated. Some rituals are no longer properly done as they were done in the past. Keywords: Religion, Culture, Ceremonies, Resettlement, Tonga, Binga, Kariba Dam

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