Towards Contestation of Perceptions, Distortions and Misrepresentations of Meanings, Functions and Performance Contexts in South African Indigenous Cultural Practices

Ndwamato George Mugovhani, Madimabe Geoff Mapaya


This article aims to contest the distortions and misrepresentations in the earlier writings of western scholars on the indigenous cultural practices of indigenous African language groups. The focus area will be Vhavenda communities around the Vhembe district of the Limpopo province of South Africa. This is the territory which was encroached by the various western missionary societies from as early as 1863. By 1940, most notable missionaries were almost well established in Venda. By the beginning of the 20th century, schools and hospitals also began to mushroom around Venda due to this missionary enterprise. Through interrogation of the various available sources; previous literature, our findings from participatory observations and the open-ended (sometimes-convergent) interviews and discussions, this article explores a number of the nomenclature and clichés that arose out of this missionary and ethnographic enterprise. The primary objective is to redress the resultant distortions of the information; with the objective of repositioning the distorted facts.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n27p1201

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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