"Lungisa" or health as returning and social connections
2011 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
My aim in writing this paper is to investigate the fact that many Zulu people who live in big cities in South Africa return to their rural homestead when they fall ill, as well as to look at why the act of returning evokes images of futility. I use experiences from my ethnographic fieldwork in northeastern rural KwaZulu Natal in 2004 and 2008. Although the health care offered in rural areas is not efficient, people wish to connect to their family and ancestors. Illnesses are considered interpersonal problems in which the wills, emotions and actions of people other than the self are at work. When people lungisa (make things acceptable), they are trying to restore their health by rebuilding their social network. Moreover, they are trying to exert some control over a life lived under political and economic circumstances that have created separation and marginalization. I theorize the course of action of returning using Adriana Cavarero’s concepts "the narratable self" and "weaving together", which, I argue, can be useful in understanding pictures of "the African patient", and not only female experiences. People do not produce what is expected of them. Instead they weave space and relationships to handle the forces that have created their life circumstances.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National CategorySocial Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85171OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-85171DiVA: diva2:565728
Futures of Cultures, Decennial Anthropology Southern Africa Conference, 3-6 September 2011, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa