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Tempora Et Mores: Family Values and the Possessions of a Post-Apartheid Countryside

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This paper examines a set of ritual responses to the challenges that post-apartheid South Africa's political economy poses to projects of domestic reproduction in the former Bantustan countryside of Zululand, where unemployment has limited the capacities of young men to create marital households. In the case study on which the paper is based, one such man's misfortunes are connected by divination to the spirit of an older kinsman who disappeared while working as a labor migrant. I argue that this connection and the rituals meant to confront it turn on fraught symbolic relations between the present and two pasts: the past of apartheid migrancy and a projected past of custom. Like the ghosts by which they are manifest, these times trouble domestic life in the present because of contradictory developments forcing unemployed migrants back on the values of private spheres while they undermine the bases of rural households.

Affiliations: 1: University of Chicago

10.1163/157006601X00275
/content/journals/10.1163/157006601x00275
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006601x00275
2001-01-01
2016-12-05

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