Bones, Rumours & Spirits
In 1898, just before she was hanged for rebelling against colonial rule, Charwe Nyakasikana, spirit medium of the legendary ancestor Ambuya Nehanda, famously prophesised that “my bones will rise again”. A century later bones, bodies and human remains have come to occupy an increasingly complex place in Zimbabwe’s postcolonial milieu. From ancestral “bones” rising again in the struggle for independence, and later land, to resurfacing bones of unsettled wardead; and from the troubling decaying remains of post-independence gukurahundi massacres to the leaky, tortured bodies of recent election violence, human materials are intertwined in postcolonial politics in ways that go far beyond, yet necessarily implicate, contests over memory, commemoration and the representation of the past.
Innovative and challenging study that provides fresh insights on the anthropology of death and postcolonial politics.
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