O level Notes : FRS - Indigenous religion - Birth and Health rituals

In Indigenous  religion, marriage is a rite of passage. Steps are followed to preserve solemnity of marriage and a good image of the community. It is not a one day event but a process.

Marriage rituals

 

In Indigenous  religion, marriage is a rite of passage. Steps are followed to preserve solemnity of marriage and a good image of the community. It is not a one day event but a process. A marriage ritual involves the paying  of dowry by the man’s family which  is intended to build and strengthen relationships between two families and their ancestors. Among the Zezuru people, the bridegroom may not be present for the ritual. The service of a go between munyai,abakhongi or dombo is required. Led by an aunt he would come to the woman’s home to ask for her hand in marriage.

He would request for a plate and a wooden plate is used. It is this plate that would be used throughout the ritual. Being given a wooden plate would enable the go between to introduce his story and the procedures continue.

 

The woman’s relatives gather to witness the marriage just in case of any dispute later on. The woman’s aunt plays an important role and so is the uncle who would lead the marriage procedures. Payments were made for instance, isivulamlomo or vhuramuromo, kangaziwe or makandinzwanani, mafukidzadumbu, matekenyandebvu, rusambo and danga.

 

Each payment had a specific meaning. For a man to complete the marriage, followers of Indigenous religion believe that all payments given to the mother, for example, the cow of motherhood should be paid first to avoid a curse to the marriage.  Sacrifices were made to seek blessings from both parents and ancestors. A new wife is introduced to the elders and ancestors for protection as a new member of the family.

 

On the first night, the Shona tradition holds that the girl should prove that she is a virgin. This is seen by a blood-stained white cloth. Women would ululate and celebrate if one was found a virgin. It is a disgrace to the family as well as the community to be found not a virgin. To a virgin a cow is paid for she is a chaste wife.

 

Importance of marriage ritual

 

  • To preserve culture.
  • Help to protect and bless family by ancestors.
  • To seal the love relationship between the new couple.
  • To seek fertility to maintain the rhythm of life.
  • Preserve the solemnity of marriage.

 

Health rituals

 

In Indigenous  religion, health in a community is not a physical matter but a religious matter. In case of an epidemic, rituals led by a diviner or a spiritual healer are to be performed. At times these rituals are done as cleansing and witch hunting. The community leader will request a spiritual healer to come and have a cleansing ritual in his community. In some parts of Zimbabwe, they call him tsikamutanda.

 

Importance of health rituals

 

  • To ensure good health.
  • To cure barrenness.
  • To guard against evil forces.