Among the Duruma, a Bantu-speaking people in the Coast Province of Kenya, many illnesses are attributed to the possessing spirits of various kinds who afflict their human victims for the purpose that their requests for goods, food, and recognition are to be met. There are specialists (called muganga) who can treat such illnesses and who themselves once were victims of the afflicting spirits. Gourds, elaborately decorated with beads and representing particular possessing spirits, play an important role in the activities of these specialists. These gourds, called ‘gourd-children ana a ndonga (sing. mwana wa ndonga)’, were given to them when they were initiated into their present vocation, and are thought to help them with their divining and curing practices. A similar gourd, also called gourd-child, is sometimes given to a patient with fertility problems in the course of her treatment. In the present paper I will describe and analyse two types of rituals where a gourd-child is given to a patient; initiation rites for ritual specialists, and ritual treatment of fertility problems. It will be shown that the main aim of both rituals is, by incorporating as a ‘child’ the dangerous spirits of the bush (nyika), who caused the patient's illness and infertility into the orderly human world (mudzi lit. ‘compound’), to transform them into benevolent spirits who help the ritual specialists with their activities or who assure the patient's fertility and health. A gourd-child proves to be the central symbol which effects this transformation. In the course of the ritual, a gourd-child, being prepared and ‘taken out kulaviwa nze’, represents three different and mutually incompatible propositions in turn; (1) a gourd-child is a child of the spirit, (2) a gourd child is a child of the patient, (3) a gourd-child is the spirit himself. The whole ritual is analyzed as an attempt to establish all these propositions at once through the manipulation of a single central symbol, i.e. a gourd-child.
The Central Kalahari San have been significantly changing their traditional subsistence and way of life under the influence of the sedentarization program of the Botswana government. Gathering, which formerly supplied 80% of their diet in caloric value, has receded greatly, with the vegetable resources around the settlement overly exploited in a short period of time. However, they still continue gathering activities. Collecting firewood and building materials is needed more than before. The purpose of this study is to analytically describe the features of their gathering activities at the present time. Comparing the pre-and post-sedentarization time, the author finds that the San's gathering activities have remarkably changed in quantity: frequency, time length and harvest amount; but not in quality: their favorite plant species, methods and group formation in gathering. Their gathering is more frequently done in groups than individually, and group gathering shows greater efficiency. The size of a group depends on the seasonal and spacial change of plant distribution, and the distance to the collecting site. The author emphasizes the significance of social interaction processes such as cooperation and information exchange in group gathering.
As a first study in a series of studies aimed at analysing the informal credit sector, and utilize its many positive qualities to improve rural credit in Tanzania, this paper presents the findings of a study on the organization of the informal credit market in selected farming communities in Morogoro Region. A questionnaire survey of 200 households coupled with participant observation, group interviews as well as informal discussions were used to obtain information on informal credit structures among different ethnic groups and different areas, so as to establish the objectives of borrowing and relationships determining the flow of credit in different localities and different ethnic groups. The study was conducted from May to August 1991. The study revealed that, the main categories of informal credit in the study area are commercial and non-commercial categories. In the commercial category, moneylenders dominate, while the non-commercial one is made up of friends and relatives, savings and credit groups, as well as mutual assistance groups. About 86.7% of respondents indicated informal sources as the main source of credit, with friends and relatives supplying about 47% of the credit obtained from informal sources. Loans are used for both production as well as consumption purposes, but loans for consumption purposes dominate. Proportionate borrowing from the various sources vary according to the level of economic activity and social setting, but the general mode of operation was found to be socially organized, and very similar in all areas studied.