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'A MIGHTY OBSTACLE TO THE GOSPEL': BASEL MISSIONARIES, KROBO WOMEN, AND CONFLICTING IDEAS OF GENDER AND SEXUALITY

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To this day, the Krobo people in highly Christianised Southern Ghana celebrate their annual girls' initiation rites (dipo). However, the rites have been a much contested matter ever since the arrival of the Basel missionaries, who strongly objected to dipo. In this paper, I investigate the 19th-century encounter between the Basel missionaries and the Krobo by focusing on dipo. An ethno-historical analysis of dipo provides a valuable entry point into investigating the interaction of the mission with Krobo people, and issues of mission, gender, and identity. The striking intersection between 'traditional' Krobo and the Basel missionaries' concerns was women's sexuality and morality. Their conflicting ideas about gender and sexuality are the key to answering the question why one of the most lingering conflicts originating from missionary attempts to redefine the life-patterns of the Krobo revolves around the dipo rites.

10.1163/157006602320292915
/content/journals/10.1163/157006602320292915
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006602320292915
2002-06-01
2016-12-08

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