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Signs of the SpiritMusic and the Experience of Meaning in Ndau Ceremonial Life$
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Tony Perman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043253

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043253.001.0001

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Finding Madhlozi in Chipinge

(p.15) Chapter 1 Introduction
Signs of the Spirit

Tony Perman

University of Illinois Press

The chapter introduces the Ndau communities at the center of this ethnography, the spirits who populate local ceremonial life, and the histories behind their emergence. The passage of ceremonial time, with the passing presence of one type of spirit to the next, is a truncated representation of the passing of local Ndau history. Madhlozi are spirits of encounter. They are the spiritual embodiment of encounter itself and the trauma, chaos, and violence that define it. Their emergence in ceremonial life is the continual emergence of history, ever unresolved and living in the spirits of the dead. But neither the history represented, the spirits who represent it, nor the practices used to engage with them are static or fixed in time.

Keywords:   Ndau, Zimbabwe, spirits, ritual, religion

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