Madz i-manga, mhondoro and the use of oral traditions-a chapter in barue religious and political history

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This study seeks to redefine the ritual significance of the madzi-manga through the use of Barue oral traditions. It goes beyond a redefinition of the ritual to study the entire process of investiture, the role of the senior mhondoro in Barue society, and the exact nature of the relationship between the Barue and the Portuguese. It concludes that the madzi-manga represented neither a Catholic baptism nor a syncretic religious practice, as has been previously argued. Rather, it was the traditional medium through which the sacred qualities of kingship were transmitted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-409
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of African History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1973

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1 I would like to thank Eric Bhota and Stephen Mugomedza for their friendship and invaluable assistance. Barbara Isaacman, Paul Lovejoy, Jan Vansina, and Stuart Wagner improved an earlier draft of this paper with their penetrating criticisms. Many of the conclusions were first presented orally at the Conference on African Religious History held in Lusaka, Zambia between 30 Aug. and 7 Sept. 1972. The research for this study would not have been possible without the generous financial assistance ofboth the Graduate School and the Office of International Programs of the University of Minnesota. 8 The earliest reference to the madzi-manga dates from 1794. (A.H.U., Moc., Cx. 30, Cust6dio de Araujo Braganca, 11 Apr. 1794.) The archival accounts are housed primarily at the Arquivo Histdrico Ultramarino (A.H.U.) in Lisbon and at the Arquivo Hist6rico de Mocambique (A.H.M.) in Lourenzo Marques. Because of the presence of a Catholic priest among the Barue in the year 1696, Caetano Montez has assumed that the practice of the madzi-manga dated from the end of the seventeenth century. (Caetano Montez, 'Coroacao dum rei do Barue em 1811', Mocambique, XXVII (1941), 117-21). ' For a general summary of this trade system see Allen Isaacman, Mozambique: The Africanization of a European Institution, the Zambesi Prazos IJ50-1902 (Madison, 1972), 72-85. Hoyini Bhila is currently involved in an intensive examination of Manica history which should shed new light on this subject. * Caetano Montez, 'Coroacao dum rei do Barue', 117-21; Isaacman, Mozambique, m-12 ; Terence Ranger, 'Revolt in Portuguese East Africa—The Makombe Rising of 1917', in Kenneth Kirkwood ed., St. Anthony's Papers—African Affairs, xv (London, 1963), 58.


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