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Traditions of kinship, marriage and bridewealth in southern Africa

Kuper, Adam (2016) Traditions of kinship, marriage and bridewealth in southern Africa. Anthropology Southern Africa, 39 (4). pp. 267-280. ISSN 2332-3256

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Identification Number: 10.1080/23323256.2016.1243447


In the pre-colonial period, and in most parts of Southern Africa throughout the nineteenth and well into the twentieth century, marriage, the family and the homestead were embedded in economic, political and religious institutions. The household was the hub of social life, and its layout symbolically expressed the relationships between men, women, cattle and the ancestors. Economically, bridewealth paid in cattle linked the pastoral economy of men and the garden economy of women. Politically, marriages established, sustained and restructured allegiances. The paper concludes with some reflections on the transformations that this traditional structure has undergone in the course of the twentieth century.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Anthropology Southern Africa
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2017 14:28
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:26

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