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"We don't want to sit and wait": widow cleansing, stigma and vulnerability in rural Zambia. A case study
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [sv]

Since HIV /AIDS pandemic hit Africa it has left Africa with millions of widows. Manywidows have to take part in cultural practices such as widow cleansing, that involves differentrituals such sexual cleansing but also symbolic rituals, due to the fear of the dead husband'sspirit. If the widow refuses the cleansing she is stigmatized by the family and society.Furthermore the interpretation of the customary laws after the husbands death lead to loss ofproperty and land that puts the widow, her children and others dependent on her income in avulnerable situation. Most research done on widow cleansing is focusing on the sexualcleansing and the HIV pandemic.The aim of this thesis is to study widow cleansing and the stigmatization and vulnerabilitythat widows face in Lamba society in Zambia. The study is based on the experiences ofwidows belonging to local Baptist churches in Mpongwe district. The study also covers thesewidows' experience of an income-generating project and explores whether and if so howparticipation in the project affected them as stigmatized and vulnerable persons. The studyshows that the widows had been an invisible group and also forgotten by the community andthat economic empowerment of widows did not break the stigmatization of the widows thatwere not cleansed. The study concludes that widow cleansing and the followingstigmatization and vulnerability that widows meet must be studied in relation to local powerstructures.

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2014.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:du-16218OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-16218DiVA, id: diva2:756502
Available from: 2014-12-22 Created: 2014-10-17 Last updated: 2014-12-22Bibliographically approved

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  • apa
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  • nn-NB
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