Likota lya bankoya: memory, myth and history

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Likota lya bankoya: memory, myth and history

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: Likota lya bankoya: memory, myth and history
Author: Binsbergen, W.M.J. van
Journal Title: Cahiers d'Études Africaines
Issue: 107/108
Issue Date: 1987
Keywords: Gender
ethnic groups
oral history
Abstract: Using a structuralist-inspired approach the author analyses a collection of oral historical data from central western Zambia, namely 'Likota lya Bankoya', ('The history of the Nkoya people'), compiled by the first Nkoya Christian pastor, J. Shimunika, in the 1950s-1960s. He focuses on mutative transformations that mark two types of discontinuity: 1) deviations, in the Likota text, from contemporary Nkoya cultural practice; and 2) inconsistencies, in the text, within the pattern of oppositions by which a particular past episode is evoked. These transformations are shown to converge on the same pattern of changes in gender relations in the process of State formation. In conjunction with the contemporary ethnographic evidence on Nkoya society, these mutative transformations indicate that the 'feminist' message in the Likota text is not an historically irrelevant statement concerning a static cosmological order, but a reflection of an actual historical process relegating women in central western Zambia to inferiority in the political, ritual, economic, and kinship domains. 

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