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Kalanga's n'holo we mwizana marriage myth demystified

by Staff reporter
06 Jul 2022 at 18:05hrs | Views
MARRIAGE is defined differently depending on one's culture but it is primarily an institution where interpersonal interactions, typically intimate and sexual ones are acknowledged.

Every tribe has distinctive customs and cultures that distinguish them from other groups.

The Kalanga tribe of Zimbabwe is very famous for a practice termed "n'holo we mwizana."

It is alleged that under this practice, a father-in-law should first sleep with his daughter-in-law before his son to ensure that she is a pure woman.

The issue has faced some debates before, with some Kalangas saying it's a thing of the past while traditional leaders have totally dismissed it, saying it's a mere myth meant to bruise their culture.

DR Madlozi Kumbudzi Moyo said after hearing about the issue, he conducted research.

He said he never came across anyone who has experienced the practice or seen it being done, therefore it's a myth.

"Nholo we mwizana is an expression that illustrates when a father has slept with his daughter-in-law. People have taken it literally, but it's really a figure of speech. There is no such practice, it's just a myth," he said.

Chief Masendu said the practice cannot be called a culture because if it ever existed somewhere, it was just used to cover up fornication between the father-in-law and daughter-in-law.

He said it should never be associated with the Kalangas.

"I am a Kalanga and I stand firm to say there is no such culture among the Kalanga people. If it really is an existent culture then it should be practiced by the majority of the tribe but I have never seen it. We cannot take people's wrong doings and make it a culture.

"I have always heard people talking about it and those people are not even a part of the tribe. I do not know who came up with it. Nholo we mwizana is just a myth meant to tarnish our image as a tribe," he said.

Chief Masendu said he is 65 years old this year.

When he got married, his father was still alive and nothing of that sort happened.

"If they say it happened long back, I do not know when the long back is because even my grandfathers never did such a bizarre practice," he said.

Chief Masendu said this myth has in a way chased young girls away from getting married to Kalanga men. Chief Madlambuzi, however, said it is possible that this practice did exist in the past because people cannot come up with a myth from nowhere.

"We have heard that this thing was done by the true Kalanga people long back. The father would sleep with his daughter-in-law so as to taste and test her. It perished with the ancestors.

"We have not abandoned the culture, but maybe they enjoyed the culture in that way. As for us, we are not doing that. We do not wish to revive it. It's impossible to restore that considering the times we are living in. If a father has HIV, it means the whole family and generations to come will all be affected," he said.

Chief Madlambuzi emphasised that there is no such practice among the Kalanga people and women should not fear anything.

Headman Mbimba of Madlambuzi said his father was born in 1935 but he never said anything about this practice.

"He never told us about such a practice even when he was teaching us about our culture, he never mentioned that. We heard this from people as we were growing up. If they are telling the truth that it was practiced. It means it was practiced before 1900 because my father would have heard it from his own father," he said.

The headman said according to people who say this thing happened, the practice was meant for the father to give his son a go-ahead to marry the girl.

"He would acknowledge a girl whom he has tasted and felt that he would be able to satisfy his son," he said.

Source - The Chronicle
More on: #Kalanga, #Marriage, #Myth