!Don't quote! A working paper submitted to the Institute for African Studies, University of Nairobi. TROPICS OF INCEST interpretation of Duruma notion of maphingani = incest Mitsuru HAMAMOTO, Fukuoka University, Japan I. The objective of this paper is to analyze the Duruma notion of "incest" and its prohibition and to show the logic underlying it. The issue of the "incest taboo" has been a kind of academic battle field where scores of different theories and explanations have been launched and refuted (cf. Arens 1988, Fox 1980). The alleged 'universality' of this prohibition is without doubt one of the main sources of confusion among anthropologists who have tackled this question. This is a source of confusion because, once convinced of its universality, we quite easily feel justi- fied in isolating it from its particular cultural setting where the very prohibition is situated (Needham 1971:28). This goes against the main tenet of anthropology which aims to 'understand' a particular society and its culture through the cultural con- structs ( or "collective representations" ) people utilise in articulating their social life. And one thing we can legitimate- ly say about cultural constructs is that we should not presup- pose, in any society, the nature of any particular cultural con- struct, i.e. what it really is, before elucidating its position in a wider cultural and semantic context. The notion of 'incest' in any society is just one such cultural construct. Unfortunate- ly many scholars who agree with the alleged universality of incest prohibition seem to have one thing in common; they think they know what incest really is or what it amounts to. This is the last thing they should do in studying cultural constructs. II. The same criticism even applies to such a careful and in- sightful researcher as Evans-Pritchard. In his study of the Nuer kinship and marriage (Evans-Pritchard 1951), he discovered that the Nuer sometimes apply their 'incest' conception ( rual is the native term) to non-consanguineous relatives and even to unre- lated persons. For example, the Nuer prohibit as rual a man from having sexual relation with a woman and her sister at the same time. Let us call this Rule 1. According to the Nuer this is the reason why a man cannot marry his wife's sister. Therefore Rule 1 explains another rule, the marriage prohibition rule which we can call Rule 2). For Evans-Pritchard this poses a difficult problem. In both cases the prohibited woman is not one's consanguine. Why, then, is the relationship prohibited as 'incestuous'? As for Rule 2, though Nuer explain it in terms of Rule 1, Evans-Pritchard uncov- ered other independent reasons for why this particular marriage should be prohibited; if this kind of marriage were conducted, a provider of the bridewealth would at the same time be its receiv- er, a situation which the Nuer do their best to avoid. He even managed to discover a rather peculiar line of reasoning which might explain why a man's wife's sister could be a man's close kin. 'When I argued that there was no kinship between a man and his wife's sister, Nuer said that this was not true. "What about the child?" they asked. They regard a man and his wife's sister as related through the child of the wife.'(ibid. p.33) Following this line of reasoning, one's sexual relation with one's wife's sister would in fact be 'incestuous'. So far, so good. But what about Rule 1? Is there any similar line of reasoning which would make one's sexual inter- course with a woman 'incestuous', just because that woman hap- pens to be the sister of another woman with whom one is currently having sexual relations? It seems most unlikely for there to be any intelligible explanation that would make her his 'close kin'. These difficulties seem to have led Evans-Pritchard to his famous astonishing conclusion about the Nuer incest prohibition. According to Nuer, Rule 2 derives from Rule 1, and not the other way round. But Evans-Pritchard reversed this priority. He wrote, 'Nuer say that marriage to persons standing in certain relationships is forbidden because it would be rual, incestuous. Speaking sociologically, I think we may reverse this statement and say that sexual relations with persons standing in these relationships are considered incestuous because it would be a breach of the marriage prohibitions to marry them....The prohibi- tion of marriage is more fundamental and comprehensive than the prohibition of sex relations, which is secondary and, I would hold, derivative." (ibid. pp.43-44) Evans-Pritchard's underlying motives are, it seems to me, clear. He could not but favor the marriage prohibition rules (Rule 2) which he could explain sociologically. But as for the incest prohibition per se (Rule 2), it seems that he simply failed to understand it. As a result, his conclusions appear to be unfounded. Indeed, they are refuted by his own Nuer data. In one place he writes, 'It is not incestuous for a man to have relations with daughters of men of his father's age-set and he would not hesitate to make love to them,'(ibid. p.36) but just two pages earlier we are told that a man was prohibited from marrying the daughters of his father's age-mates(ibid p.34). All these theoretical difficulties come, it seems to me, from Evans-Pritchard's own assumption that the Nuer notion of rual means, and must mean, exactly what the traditional anthropo- logical notion of 'incest' means (i.e., sexual relations with one's close kin,) when all that he needed in order to understand the Nuer concept of rual was to free himself from this very as- sumption, or to 'bracket it', and to try to situate rual in the Nuer's own cultural contexts. In what follows I intend to focus on the Duruma concept of maphingani -- which at first sight might well be translated as 'incest' -- and try to elucidate what this really means. It will be shown that this concept, though it shares some categories of women in common with the traditional anthropological notion of 'incest', is based on an entirely different underlying logic from what many anthropologists so far have understood by the word 'incest.' III The Duruma are one of the Mijikenda peoples, living mainly in the Kwale District of the Coast Province of Kenya. They are basically subsistence farmers who mainly cultivate maize and a few species of vegetables. In the more arid area, animal hus- bandry is also of some economic importance. The Duruma acknowledge double lines of descent, both patri- lineal ( ukulume ) and matrilineal( ukuche ), though the latter has largely ceased to function sociologically. Today inheritance is solely patrilineal, that is from father to son, though until recently cattle and other movable property were inherited matri- lineally, i.e., from mother's brother to sister's son, while land and a few other items were handed down from father to son. Probably the only significant sociological function that matri- lineal kin groups still have today is the right to receive, and the obligation to pay, death compensation ( kore ) in the case of homicidal death. There are fourteen patrilineal clans among the Duruma, which are divided into two groups, murima and mwezi, each consisting of seven clans. Each clan may be divided into "major lineages" (called miyango, i.e., 'doorways'), which in turn are composed of several "minor lineages" (nyumba, i.e., 'houses'). A minor line- age, nyumba, consists of closely related homesteads (midzi), which are socially and economically the most important unit and are largely autonomous in day-to-day affairs. A homestead varies in size from that of just a man and his wife living in a single hut up to a large extended family of three or four generations, which in some respects can be seen as a loose affiliation of several semi-autonomous homesteads whose heads are brothers. A Duruma homestead follows a typical developmental cycle. In a traditional polygamous household, where each wife of a man lives in a separate hut, children of both sexes under the age of puberty live in their mother's hut. The more grown-up boys are encouraged to build and reside in their own hut, though food is still cooked and served by their mothers. The younger boys may at times join their elder brother's hut, but sooner or later each boy is expected to have his own hut. When married, his hut is regarded as a semi-independent household, though he is still under the authority of his father. Marriage is supposed to be arranged in strict order of seniority. Younger brothers cannot marry before their elders: when an unmarried elder brother who has his younger brother marry before him wishes to marry, then he will be forbidden to join his father's homestead. Thus he must either give up marrying for ever, which is unlikely, or leave his father's homestead to marry and live elsewhere, or have his father 'rectify the wrong mar- riage order' through a special curing ritual known as ku- phoryorya. This insistence on the strict order of seniority also ap- plies when a homestead is moved. Huts in a newly-established homestead must be built in the same strict order, that is, no junior members are allowed to build their own huts before their elders. If, deliberately or accidentally, a senior member were to be preceded by his junior -- such as a junior wife has her hut built before that of a senior wife -- then the senior would be forbidden from joining the new homestead, unless the same recti- fying ritual, ku-phoryorya is held. With the birth of his child, a man establishes himself as an independent household head. Later he may marry a second wife, and may shift his household to the periphery of his father's homestead. Though still regarded as a junior member of his father's homestead ( mudzi ) and under the latter's authority, his household is now itself a semi-autonomous homestead. On the death of their father, the former homesteads are in effect a loose coalition of semi-autonomous junior homesteads of the sibling group. They may be considered to form a single homestead for some time even after their father's death, but in due time they will become separated, each becoming an independent autono- mous homestead. IV I want now to outline briefly the Duruma notions of "incest" and its treatment. The Duruma use the word maphingani to denote certain kinds of dangerous states brought about by certain prohibited actions which are mainly sexual in nature and are, to some extent, coterminous with those which the anthropologists consider to be incestuous. The same dangerous states, and ac- tions which caused them, may be referred to by other terms such as makoso, makushekushe, makuru. According to Duruma informants, these terms may distinguish the degree of seriousness in the committed action but, otherwise, they can be used interchange- ably. These dangerous states, maphingani, are believed to be fol- lowed by a specific kind of misfortunes called vitiyo ( sing. chitiyo ). Chitiyo may take the form of illness. Severe vomit- ing, diarrhoea, and physical deformities are the most commonly known symptoms. But actually chitiyo may take the form of any misfortune, such as the barrenness of women, still-births, the birth of a deformed child ( vyoni ), crop failures, cattle bar- renness etc. It is also commonly believed that if one of the transgressors has an accident like snake-bite, or simply gets ill, and the other transgressor comes to visit him, he will get worse and may even die. Chitiyo does not affect the culprit alone, but can affect any member of the homestead or even the minor lineage. According to an informant, Ichikala at'u ahenda maphingani, anae, nduguze, avyazie kp'a jumula, koloze na hata yiye phamwenga na muchewe unaidimwa kugb- 'irwa ni vitiyo. Nyumba yiyo yosi yinaidimwa kugb'irwa ni vitiyo. (If people commit maphingani, his children, his brothers, his forebears in general, his real parents, up to he himself and his own wife, they can be caught by chitiyo. The whole nyumba ('house' or 'minor lineage') can be caught by vitiyo) In order to redress this disturbed situation, a special curing ritual called ku-phoryorya is needed. This is the same curing ritual as is held for rectifying the wrong marriage order, or incorrect order of building huts in a new homestead. The central feature of this ritual is the sacrifice of sheep ( ng'on- zi ). Sacrificial victims are not killed in the usual way, i.e., by cutting the throat, but are first stabbed in the abdomen. The 'doctor' ( muganga wa kuphoryorya ) then withdraws the inner substance of the stomach ( munyou or ufumba ) of the dying ani- mal, which is finally put to death by having its throat cut. In a serious case as many as eight sheep are needed, but in the least serious cases, the actual killing of animals may not be necessary, and it may suffice to use only a part of the intes- tines ( chipigat'ut'u cha ng'onzi ) which can be bought at the butchery. Sometimes even dried intestines will do. The intestinal contents taken from the victim are smeared on the patient's body, and mixed with other herbal ingredients and water in a half-cut gourd, to make a medicinal fluid ( vuo ). These other ingredients come from plants called mukone, munyundu, phozo, reza, which are called 'cold plants'( mihi ya peho ), and gitaji, komba, mwundu. The same combination of medicinal ingre- dients, it should be noted, is also used in other rituals aimed at rectifying sex-related transgressions of the domestic order, such as the treatment of chirwa (illness of a newly-born baby caused by either of its parents having relations with persons other than his or her spouse, or illness caused by the transgres- sion of the ban on sexual activity during the mourning period after the death of one's close relative). A ku-phoryorya ritual consists of the following sequence of actions. All the members of the homestead or even the minor lineage must be present. The culprits are made to sit down on the ground, a man and a woman facing each other, with their legs crossed, ie., the right leg of the man is put on the left leg of the woman while his left leg is put under her right leg. Each must confess all the names of persons with whom he or she had forbidden relations. Then the doctor ( muganga ), dragging a sheep, circles around them seven times, saying 'so and so has committed forbidden acts with so and so, now let all the vitiyo be gone from their whole body' . After that, the sheep is stabbed in the abdomen. The doctor smears the culprits with the intestinal contents of the sheep, and prepares the medicinal fluid ( vuo ) while uttering a spell over it. All the names the culprits have confessed are mentioned again in this spell. The culprits are washed with this vuo and a charm is prepared which is to be tied around their waists. In the most serious cases of maphingani as many as eight sheep are dragged around the house or even around the whole homestead. When everything is finished, the victim's meat is divided among those present. V Let us now examine in detail what kind of actions are be- lieved to result in maphingani. Firstly, maphingani is consid- ered to be caused by sexual relations with persons standing in certain relationships. The rule which prohibits sexual relations among these relationships may be summarized as follows. Mut'u yeyesi mwenye ubari nawe kp'a mavyalwi au kp'a mahwali, au mahwalwi, uchilala naye ganaidima kukala maphingani. (Any person who shares with you ubari(lit. clanship), through either birth or wife-giving or wife-taking. If you sleep with her, that can result in maphingani.) This statement is so general that it functions only as a rule of thumb at best. It will soon be clear that among those women who are one's relatives through birth (mavyalwi) or wife-taking (mahwali), or wife-giving (mahwalwi), not all are subject to this prohibition. More specifically prohibition applies to the fol- lowing categories of women. Muchetu ambaye uchilala naye unasababisha vitiyo ni ameyo, mesomoyo, mwanao wa chiche, nduguyo wa chiche, mukaza mwanao, chaneyo, mukaza aphuyo, tsangazimiyo, muphwao, mulamuo, mutsed- zao, mukaza mutsedzao, mukaza muphwao, mwana wa mulamuo. Ala mwana wa tsangazimi na mwana wa aphuyo bahi aa airi kaana vitiyo. (A woman who causes vitiyo if you sleep with her is your mayo, your mesomo, your female mwana, your female ndugu, your muka- za mwana, your chane, your mukaza aphu, your tsangazimi, your mphuwa, your mulamu, your mutsedza, your mukaza mutsedza, your mukaza mphuwa, your mwana wa mulamu. But your mwana wa tsangazimi and mwana wa aphu, with these two people there are no vitiyo.) In this list are included both one's consanguineous kinswom- en and non-consanguineous affinal relatives. Sometimes a single kin term denotes women of both categories. The principal refer- ents of these kin terms are shown in the following table (bold letters indicate the chief referents). kin terms *consanguines *affinal relatives *referred to *referred to ---------------------------------------------------------------- mayo * M,FFM,FMM,MMM,MFM * FW,FBW ---------------------------------------------------------------- mesomo * * FW,FBW ---------------------------------------------------------------- mwana wa chiche* D,BD,FZSD,MBSD,MBDD * SWZ * FBSD,MZSD * ---------------------------------------------------------------- ndugu wa chiche* Z,FD,FBD,MZD * ---------------------------------------------------------------- chane * MZ * WMZ,FWZ,FBWZ ---------------------------------------------------------------- tsangazimi * FZ * WFZ,BWFZ ---------------------------------------------------------------- muphwa * ZD,FDD,FBDD,MZDD,FZDD * ZSW ---------------------------------------------------------------- mukaza mwana * * SW,SWZ,BSW etc. ---------------------------------------------------------------- mutsedza * * WM,BW,BWM,DHZ,WFW, * * FZHW,MZHW,ZDHZ ---------------------------------------------------------------- mukaza mutsedza* * WFW,DHBW,FZHW,MZHW, * * ZDHW,ZDHBW ---------------------------------------------------------------- mukaza aphu * * MBW,WMBW ---------------------------------------------------------------- mulamu * * WZ,ZHZ,BWZ ---------------------------------------------------------------- mwana wa mulamu* * WBD,WZD.ZHBD,ZHZD ---------------------------------------------------------------- In the above table, mayo refers to one's mother, while mesomo refers to one's father's other wives. These two terms are also applicable to one's father's brother's wives (called either mayo or mesomo ). Mwana is one's child, and mwana wa chiche means one's daughter (including more distant relations as is shown in the table ). Ndugu means sibling, and ndugu wa chiche is one's sister, which actually covers a wide range of relations, including one's parallel cousin (one's father's brother's daugh- ter, one's mother's sister's daughter etc.) and even any clans- woman who is of one's genealogical generation. These various ndugu are distinguished by such terms as: ndugu wa ndani mwenga, literally 'sibling of the same womb', meaning full sibling; ndugu wanababa, meaning half-siblings and patrilateral parallel cousins; ndugu wanachane, meaning matrilateral parallel cousins; and ndugu wa mbarini, meaning clan siblinghood. Chane is a term for one's mother's sister (including mother's female parallel cousins etc.), while tsangazimi refers to one's father's sister (also including her parallel cousins). Muphwa means one's sis- ter's daughter (including every female child of a woman one calls one's ndugu). The other prohibited women are mukaza mwana, mukaza aphu, mulamu, mutsedza, mukaza mutsedza, mukaza muphwa, mwana wa mula- mu. They are all one's affinal relatives. Mukaza means 'wife of someone', so that mukaza mwana, mukaza aphu, mukaza muphwa, refers respectively one's son's wife, one's mother's brother's wife, and one's sister's son's wife, both real and classificato- ry. Mutsedza is one's parents-in-law or one's son-in-law, but it also denotes one's brother's wife. Wives of male mutsedza, who are also called mukaza mutsedza, are also prohibited. Mulamu is one's sister's husband together with his brothers and sisters, or one's wife's brothers and sisters, in brief, one's siblings-in- law in general. Their daughters, mwana wa mulamu, are also prohibited. Of course these relation terms are applied to more distant classificatory relatives, but prohibition is not so strict in the case of these distant classificatory relations. In fact, even within the same clan, beyond the minor lineage intermarriage is a possibility. The concept of maphingani is most closely associ- ated with the homestead or, at its outer limit, the minor line- age. Apparently significant omissions from this list of prohibit- ed kin are: mukoi (one's cross-cousins referred to, in the state- ment cited above, as mwana wa tsangadzimiyo, your father's sis- ter's daughter, and mwana wa aphuyo, your mother's brother's daughter); adzukulu (grandchildren, sing. mudzukulu), and awe (grandmothers, sing. wawe). These are the categories of people with whom one can, and is expected to, joke (ku-bishirana). In many societies cross-cousins are regarded as preferable mates for marriage, and, to some extent, this is the case with the Duruma. There is nothing unusual, therefore, about the omission of cross-cousins, but the omission of one's grandchildren and grand- mothers is a rather surprising and exceptional feature of the Duruma maphingani. While it is strongly disapproved for a man to marry his real grandmother or granddaughter, it is generally approved and is actually considered quite good for a man to marry his classifica- tory grandmother or classificatory granddaughter. If a widow (gungu) is to be inherited and remarried by the deceased brother, the sacrifice of sheep is necessary for removing vitiyo. But if she is inherited by the deceased's grandson, so long as she is not the latter's real grandmother, no sacrifice of sheep will be needed. Although there is lack of consensus among the Duruma them- selves, sexual relation with one's real granddaughter, strongly disapproved as it is, is not regarded as maphingani. Uchilala na mudzukuluo gandakala ni makosa. Makosa mabomu sana, kisha sana. Lakini kavina vitiyo. (If you sleep with your granddaughter, that would be wrong -- a very wrong thing. But there is no vitiyo.) The reason why it is strongly disapproved for one to have rela- tions with one's granddaughter is not because of the maphingani it involves, but is explained in terms of other considerations about kin relationship. Mut'u kaidima kulala na mudzukuluwe. Ala mut'u achipatikana kukala udzigahenda gago at'u ni kumwiha mutumia yiye kukala katika rohoye ni mutsai au kenzi mwanawe aenderere kp'a vivyo mutumia dza yiye ni kutengb'a hicheye yaani ni bananzi. (One cannot sleep with one's granddaughter. If he is found to have done that, people will say "that man, in his heart, is a witch. He hates his son to flourish." That is why a man like him is left by himself. That is, he is one who destroys everything.) Uchilala na mudzukuluwo, mwanao undakala unaidima kukolaga. Amba "Ye baba kenzi nipate mutsedza wangu. Yuna chidzitso." Kp'a vivyo tsi tototo uchibishirana na mudzukuluwo, chikala mwi hi- chiyenu mo ndani ya nyumbani. (If you sleep with your granddaughter, your son would even kill you. He thinks, "That father doesn't want me to get my own son- in-law. He is jealous." That is why it is not good to joke with your granddaughter when you two are alone inside a hut.) Needless to say, there are many other women with whom the sexual relations are disapproved but are not considered to cause vitiyo. Thus relations with mukaza mulamu, i.e., one's sister's husband's wife, for example, are considered wrong (makosa mis- takes) just as any relation with anyone's wife is regarded as wrong. Such relations are thought to be adulterous, and are subject to punishment, but there would be no consequencial mis- fortunes (vitiyo) such as would follow maphingani. Relation with one's mudzukulu (granddaughter) or one's wawe (grandmother) is closer to this kind of transgression than maphingani per se. It must be clear by now that our problem is just the same as that faced by Evans-Pritchard. Among those women with whom one must avoid sexual relation because of maphingani, are included a number of non-consanguineous affinal relatives, such as one's brother's wife, one's wife's sister, one's son's wife, while on the other hand very close consanguines, such as one's granddaugh- ter or one's grandmother, are excluded. What we need is a de- scriptive model that can explain these details of prohibited categories of women. And the traditional anthropological notion of 'incest', according to which sexual relation with certain categories of women are prohibited as 'incestuous' simply because they are one's consanguines, simply fails to provide such a model, since almost half of the prohibited categories in this case are not consanguines. Should we, then, try to find a logi- cal explanation which would make these affinal relatives members of one's 'kingroup' -- just as Evans-Pritchard tried unsuccess- fully to do -- in order to keep our notion of 'incest' intact? Alternatively, perhaps we should question whether the Duruma notion of maphingani is really equivalent to our notion of 'i- ncest'. In that case, what is it? VI Apart from the sexual relations with one's relatives de- scribed above, a variety of actions are considered to bring maphingani. For example, the Duruma consider that even quite unrelated women can cause maphingani. Ache a weruni anaidima kugb'iza maphingani vivi. Kp'a mufano, uwe na mwanao, ama nduguyo, mutsembere na ache a weruni, akale ni ndugu au yiye mumwenga. Sambi maphingane ni chit'u ambacho kp'idima kuchelewa haraka kabila nikukala china- henza kuolaga au kubananga. Sambi upatapho ajali ya nyoka au kugongb'a ni gari,na sambi ao at'u ahendanao vitendo vivyo adze, unaidima kufa gafula. Au uwe uchienda alola anaidima kufa kp'a sababu chiduruma ni kp'amba amutsanganya uwe na mwanao au nduguyo na vivyo. Kp'a vivyo chiduruma chit'u dza chicho chichihendeka bahi nikukala kaalolana mumwenga wao akalapho mukongo kuogophesa kuolaga muyawe. (Women of the bush can cause maphingani like this. For example, suppose you and your son, or your brother, have affairs with women of the bush, and also suppose these women are sisters to each other, or actually the same woman. Now maphinga- ni can wait a long time before it kills or destroys. Now, if you get injured by a snake, or if you are hit by a car, and let those who had sexual affairs as described above come to inquire after you, then you may die immediately. Or on the other hand, if you go and inquire after them (in the case of the latter's illness), then they can die. For, in the Duruma way of thinking, you have mixed up yourself and your son, or your brother in that way. This is why, in the Duruma custom, if such things happened, usually people would not go and inquire after one another when someone got ill for fear of killing them.) The same situation may be formulated more briefly as fol- lows: Pia maphingani ganaidima kupatikana ichikala uwe na nduguyo, ama uwe na mwanao, kp'a mufano, mundalala na asichana ndugu mwenga au mumwenga, ama mut'u na ameye. ( Also maphingani can result if you and your brother, or you and your son, for example, sleep with the same woman, or women who are sisters, or are mother and daughter.) Ache a weruni (sing. muche wa weruni), who literally are 'women of the bush', actually means any woman who is one's extra- marital sexual partner, including even prostitutes in the town. In this case it is maphingani not because the woman with whom one had sexual relations is one's kin in any sense, but because another man who had sexual relation with this same woman is one's close kin, one's brother or one's son. Maphingani here is not a question of relationship which connects two consanguines of different sex in a prohibited sexual relation, but a question of a relationship which connects two consanguines of the same sex who share a single sexual partner (or partners who themselves are closely related each other). This is also clear from the fact that consequent misfortunes (vitiyo) are thought to fall upon the two men so related, and not the woman with whom they had sexual intercourse. That is to say, maphingani results from the fact that they 'mixed up'(ku-tsanganya) two kinsmen of the same sex. The same conception of maphingani will be seen more clearly in its extended form where no actual intercourse is involved. For the Duruma say that a slight form of maphingani might result even from borrowing certain goods from particular kinspeople, and that if these goods were to be used for the purpose of sexual intercourse it would already constitute a form of serious maphin- gani. Maphingani ganaidima kuphenya kp'a nguo. Kp'a mufano, muchet'u amuphe mwanawe musichana leso, na akari- handikire muzembewe na achiuya amudzire, nguo zizo zinaidima kugb'iza maphingani. Vitanda na hata nyumba, kp'a mufano, muvulana muvyere kaidima kulala na musichana kp'enye nyumba ya muvahawe. Mut'u achihenda vivyo vinahenza ng'onzi, kp'ani ni vitiyo. Na achihenda vivyo basi ye mukaha kayuyira yiyo nyumba. (Maphingani can enter through clothes. For example, suppose a woman lends her cloth to her daughter, and the latter uses it as a sheet on which to make love with her partner, and after that returns it to her mother, then these clothes can cause maphinga- ni. It also applies to beds and even to huts. For example, an elder brother cannot sleep with a girl in the hut of his younger brother. If one did that kind of things, sheep would be necessary to get rid of the vitiyo. If they behaved that way, the trans- gressors could no more enter that hut.) Even if there is no actual sexual intercourse involved, such borrowing would still be considered something resembling maphin- gani: Muvyere kaidima kulala chitanda cha muvaha, kp'a sababu yuyatu muvaha ndiye alalaye cha muvyerewe, lakini muvyere ni kama abayo, kaidima kudza lala chitanda cha muvahawe. Sambi uchenda lala chitanda chiratu ganahesabika ni makoso, ndo gadzanza ni maphin- gani. (An elder brother cannot sleep in the bed of his younger brother. A younger brother may sleep in the bed of his elder brother, but the elder brother, like your father, cannot come and sleep in the bed of his younger brother. If he were to go and sleep in that bed, that will be counted as makoso, that is the beginning of maphingani.) Actions of this kind which may be considered as maphingani include; a father using his son's bed or sleeping mat or other bedding materials; an elder brother using his junior's bed and so on; borrowing close relatives' clothes and returning them with- out washing; and mixing one's excreta with those of one's rela- tives (one of the reasons why many Duruma hesitate to install latrines); and probably many other actions which erase the dis- tinctions drawn between different categories of kin of the same sex. In these cases too, maphingani is concerned with a rela- tionship between kin of the same sex, and not with heterosexual relations within kin. VII How is this conception of maphingani related to the prohibi- tion of sexual relations with the various categories of women considered in section V? Should we admit that among the Duruma there are two separate notions of maphingani: one, equal to the traditional anthropological notion of 'incest', concerned with a relationship between a man and a woman in prohibited sexual relations, and the other concerned with a relationship between two consanguines of the same sex? In this section I will show that the latter conception of maphingani is sufficient to explain the categories of prohibited women, and that, therefore, in ana- lyzing Duruma maphingani we can entirely do away with the tradi- tional anthropological notion of 'incest'. Let me first restate the principle I assume to underlie the Duruma conception of maphingani. Maphingani is essentially concerned with a relationship that connects consanguines of the same sex. If two closely related kin of the same sex were to be further involved in such relation- ship as to share a single sexual partner (or partners who are closely related among themselves), or as to share common objects which are associated with sexual intercourses (like bedding materials), then maphingani will result. Where the prohibited affinal relatives, such as one's broth- er's wife (mutsedza) are concerned, this principle certainly explains the prohibition far better than the western 'incest' conception. Having sexual relations with one's brother's wife indeed results in oneself and one's brother sharing one and the same woman as a sexual partner, which people regard as maphinga- ni. This is something that the 'incest' conception cannot ex- plain simply because she is not one's consanguineous kinswoman. But how about the prohibition against relations with one's consanguineous kinswomen such as with one's mother? Doesn't maphingani here consist simply in the fact that it is a sexual relation with one's kin, and thus 'incestuous'? However, even here, with a slight change of perspective, we find the above principle still applies. For sexual intercourse, say, with one's mother not only amounts to sexual relation with one's close kin, but also results in connecting two male kin, oneself and one's father, who share a single sexual partner, i.e., one's mother. It will be shown that all the other prohibited relations listed in the section V above can likewise be interpreted accord- ing to this conception of maphingani. In order to do this, let me be a little bit more systematic about the formulation of the principle. While, as I have sug- gested so far, what is in question in the Duruma notion of mphin- gani is a relationship which connects two consanguines of the same sex, we can further discern within such relationships four different types. These are; (male-male relationship) A-1.baba-mwana; F-S, FB-BS, MZS-MZS, etc. A-2.ndugu-ndugu; B-B, FBS-FBS, etc. A-3.tsawe-mudzukulu; FF-SS, MF-DS, etc. A-4.aphu-muphwa; MB-ZS, etc. (female-female relationship) B-1.mayo-mwana; M-D, MZ-ZD, etc. B-2.ndugu-ndugu; Z-Z, MZD-MZD, FBD-FBD, etc. B-3.wawe-mudzukulu; MM-DD, FM-SD, etc. B-4.tsangazimi-mwana; FZ-BD, etc. On the other hand, a relationship which unites two individu- als of the same sex through their sexual relation with one woman, or a set of closely related women, can be classified into three types: the relationship between two men who have the same woman as their sexual partner (let us call this relationship X-1); the relationship between two men whose sexual partners are sisters (let this relationship be X-2); and the relationship between two men whose sexual partners are mother and daughter (let's call this X-3). Similarly in the case of women we may distinguish: Y-1 ( the relationship between two women who share the same man as their sexual partner); Y-2 (the relationship between two women whose sexual partner are brothers); and Y-3 (the relationship between two women whose partners are father and son). No institutionalized relationship corresponds to X-1. But men whose respective wives are sisters call each other mwanyumba. Therefore X-2 has its institutionalized equivalent. Similarly, because two men whose respective wives are mother and daughter are father-in-law and son-in-law to each other, the X-3 relation- ship has its institutionalized equivalent in mutsedza (i.e., WF- DH) relationship. As for women, Y-1 coresponds with the rela- tionship between co-wives (mukakazi), and, because wives of brothers call each other wifi, Y-2 also has its institutionalized counterpart. Y-3 is seen in the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship(mevyala-mwana). Now most of the prohibited maphingani-causing sexual rela- tions enumerated in the section V prove to be those which would lead to the two individulas in question being doubly connected both in a A type (or a B type in the case of women) of relation- ship and in a X type (or a Y type) of relationship at the same time, as is shown in the following diagram. For example, sexual intercourse with one's mother(mayo), or one's father's wife (mesomo), or one's son's wife (mkaza mwana) puts the two people both in an A-1 relationship and in an X-1 relationship at the same time. Sexual intercourse with one's daughter (mwana), or one's wife's mother (mutsedza) causes two people standing in a B-1 relationship to be connected through the Y-1 relationship. Similarly, sexual relations with one's sister (ndugu) makes two people standing in an A-1 relationship be con- nected by X-3, and at the same time makes two people standing in a B-1 relationship to be connected through Y-3. Sexual rela- tions with one's brother's wife (mutsedza) or conversely with one's wife's sister (mulamu) places two persons, standing A-2 and B-2 respectively, in X-1 or Y-1 relationships. Sexual relations with one's brother's wife's sister (mulamu) causes two persons standing in A-2 to be placed in a X-2 relationship, and inversely make those in B-2 to be placed in a Y-2 relationship. The other prohibited sexual relations can be similarly explained. Thus, most of the Duruma prohibitions on sexual intercourse can be seen as corresponding to the incompatibility of these relationships, as the following table shows. By incompatibility I mean, for example, two men who stand in A-1 cannot at the same time stand in X-1 or X-2 or X-3. Thus the Duruma rule for maphingani is summarized as follows: any sexual intercourse must be forbidden which would bring about incompatible relationships, by introdudcing, say, a X-1 relation into an already existing, say, A-1 relationship. | X-1 | X-2 | X-3 ----------------------------------------- A-1 | x | x | x A-2 | x | x | x A-3 | OK | OK | x A-4 | x | x(?) | OK ( x means this X-2 | OK | OK(?) | x combination not X-3 | x | x | x allowed because of maphingani) | Y-1 | Y-2 | Y-3 ----------------------------------------- B-1 | x | x | x B-2 | x | x | x B-3 | OK | OK | x B-4 | x | x | OK Y-1 | OK? | OK? | ? Y-2 | ? | ? | ? Y-3 | ? | ? | ? (inconclusive cases of Y-1,Y-2,Y-3 in the above table, because these combinations do not correspond to prohibitions with named categories) I hope it will be agreed that this model, which is based on the Duruma's own conception of maphingani, can describe more systematically the range of sexual prohibitions than the tradi- tional anthropological notion of 'incest'. It satisfies the requirements of a good descriptive model for Duruma maphingani and its various prohibitions. Our remaining problems, however, are, first, why these rela- tionships are considered incompatible, in other words, why, for example, two brothers(A-2) cannot at the same time be mwanyumba (X-2); and secondly, why in some cases these relationships are considered to be compatible. For instance, the gandfather-grand- son relationship (A-3) is compatible with X-1, X-2 (thus there is no maphingani in the case of sexual relations with one's grand- mother), while it is incompatible with X-3 (thus one's father's sister is prohibited). In short, we must explain what makes two relationship incompatible in some cases and compatible in other cases. Finally, there is one instance of prohibition which cannot be explained by this formulation; that is, the prohibition against sexual relations with one's sister's husband's sister (also mulamu). This exception remains to be explained. Let us turn to these questions. VIII So far our model still remains descriptive. In order for it to have explanatory value, we need to know what makes rela- tionships compatible or incompatible. Here I would like to maintain that such compatibility or incompatibility is not sociological, but semantic in nature. By sociological incompatibility I mean that social functions per- taining to respective relationships lead to unsurmountable con- flicts. This is the perspective from which Evans-Pritchard analyzed the Nuer marriage prohibition rules. If certain prohib- ited marriage were conducted, then, for instance, there would be a conflict of rights and obligations over the distribution of bridewealth. But this kind of sociological incompatibility is not so relevant to the analysis of prohibited sexual relations, for, unlike marriage, from sexual relation per se, which may be only temporary, no specific social function accrues. Therefore incompatibility here cannot be sociological nor practical, but rather semantic. By the semantic incompatibility of relationships I mean that the definition of respective relationships contradict each other. I will now explore this point in detail. What is the definition of each relationship I discerned in the previous section, or more exactly, what kind of symbolic operations are at work in semanti- cally constituting these relationships? First, we need to look at the A (or B) type of relationship, that is, relationship of consanguinity. The Duruma believe that a child's body is created in it's mother's womb by mixing its mother's uterine blood and its father's blood(sperm). The rela- tionship of consanguinity is, thus, a relationship of shared sub- stance. The shared substance guarantees the mutual resemblance of the two who stand in this relationship. According to a Duruma proverb, "uchiona muhehera unanwa matumbi udziga kolo"( If you see a young hen pecking and eating her own eggs, it is imitating its mother-hen), which means that the bad behavior of children is simply a reflection of that of their parents. The A (also B) type of relationship is best characterized by this presupposed mutual resemblance. But at the same time, people who share this type of rela- tionship are those among whom the most minute distinctions of status, age, rights and obligations are drawn. What character- izes the Duruma father/son relationship is its marked vertical asymmetry of dominance and subordination. The mother's brother/sister's son relationship used to be equally asymmetri- cal. In the past one could even offer one's sister's children as death compensation (kore) for a murder that one had committed. Sister's children were, in this sense, "owned" by their mother's brother. Even among the group of uterine siblings, differences of seniority are emphasized, which determine the appropriate order of their marriage, or for building their huts. A slight transgression of this order of seniority would endanger the whole homestead. The fact that such transgressions require the same curing ritual, kuphoryorya, as is necessary for preventing or removing vitiyo is suggestive. Relationships pertaining to two consanugines of this sort are characterized by their vertical differences which must be maintained, and whose confusion must be rectified by the kuphoryorya ritual. And maphingani is just such a sort of confusion brought about by the combination of incompatible relationships. In brief, the A (also B) type of relationships are relation- ships of presupposed similarity, continuity, and identity, com- bined with constructed differences and vertical asymmetry. According to Kristeva's(1969) classification of symbolic opera- tions, any symbolic operation which poses and establishes differ- ence, while assuming the preexisting identity, similarity, or continuity, are called 'metonymic' symbolization. Therefore, we may call what characterizes the A (also B) type of relationship as 'metonymic'. Then what about the X (or Y) type of relationships? The nature of these relationships are clearly seen in their institu- tionalized counterparts; the relationship between mwanyumba (one's wife's sister's husband, i.e., men whose wives are sisters ); and the relationship between mutsedza (father-in-law and son- in-law). The mwanyumba relation is the institutionalized equivalent of the X-2 relationship. Although there is no institutionalized equivalent for the X-1 relationship -- which is a matter of course because the situation of two men sexually sharing one woman is socially abnormal and it is supposed to happen only accidentally -- it may be justified to assume X-1 as an extreme case of X-2 (or conversely X-2 an attenuated form of X-1). Two men who call each other mwanyumba naturally belong to different kin groups. They share no common substance which characterizes consanguinity. It is a relationships of presup- posed difference. But on the other hand, mwanyumba is also described as 'dzakp'amba ni mutu na nduguye' (as if they are brothers). They often visit each other's homesteads, and help each other. They are considered to be each other's equal. This type of relationship, then, is one of constituted equivalence and similarity, combained with, and based on assured and pre-existing difference. According to Kristeva's classifica- tion again, the symbolic operation that sets up similarity be- tween two terms, while presupposing their pre-existing assured differences, is a 'metaphoric' symbolic operation. X-1 and X-2 type relationships are best characterized as 'metaphoric' in this sense, where two men are each other's interchangeable equivalent, that is to say, each other's 'metaphor'. The mutsedza relation is the institutionalized counterpart of X-3 relationship. Men who call each other mutsedza usually belong to different kin group, thus they are thought to share no common substance. Their differences are presupposed and taken for granted. Unlike the mwanyumba relation, however, this rela- tionship is characterized by its marked vertical asymmetry of dominance and subordination, akin to what exists between father and son. But a symmetrical element can still be seen in the reciprocal use of the term itself; a father-in-law calls his son-in-law mutsedza, and vice versa. From a semiological points of view, this relation is a 'metaphorical' one which derives from the 'metonymic' mother- daughter relationship. Just as the destruction of a crown, which 'metonymically' represents the king, is a 'metaphor' for killing the king, the crown-destroyer being a 'metaphoric' king-slayer, similar operations acted on the two terms of metonymic relations produce asymmetric metaphors. Asymmetric because a crown-destroy- er can be said to be a metaphor of a king-slayer, but not vice versa. Now since a daughter is a 'metonymy' of a mother, one who has sexual relations with a daughter, therefore, is a 'metaphor' of one who has sexual relations with a mother. In this sense a son-in-law does resemble his father-in-law. In brief, the relationship between two men produced through both having the sexual relations with a set of closely related women constitutes two kinds of 'metaphoric' relations; one sym- metrical and horizontal as in the mwanyumba relation, and the other asymmetrical and vertical as in the mutsedza relation. Therefore the principle underlying the Duruma conception of maphingani can be reformulated as a simple 'tropic logic' as follows; where the relationship is constituted as 'metonymical', it cannot at the same time be 'metaphoric', and where the rela- tionship is constituted as 'metaphoric', two metaphorical rela- tions, symmetrical and asymmetrical, are incompatible with each other. IX Finally let us consider some apparent irregularities in the Duruma conception of maphingani, and try to explain them from the above points of view. One such irregularity concerns the prohibition against sexual intercourse with one's sister's husband's sister (mulamu), which is the only prohibition that cannot be explained on the principle so far considered. A man and the person who married his sister call each other mulamu. The relationship between mulamu is characterized by mutual joking. They freely abuse each other, tell lies to each other, and even rob each other of possessions, all of which would be considered anti-social in other social interactions. This relationship is also marked by its equality, and is symmetrical, except that one is the receiver of the sister of the other who is a wife-giver. That is to say, they are related inversely with a single woman, who is a sister to one and a wife to the other. Although this is not the place to embark on a comprehensive discussion of the 'joking' relationship in general, it must be noted that 'joking', unlike other ordinary social interactions where people present themselves to others showing a 'positive' social self, is an occasion where people interact showing each other 'negative aspects' that are suppressed in ordinary social interactions. In other words, in joking people interact via the 'negative pictures' of their ordinary social selves, and one finds in one's joking partner one's inverted mirror image. The relationship between mulamu, therefore, is another kind of 'metaphoric' relation in the sense that the relation between two terms in a pair of contrast, like 'white' and 'black', is said to be metaphoric. We shall call this an X-4 type of rela- tionship, and add it to the existing three. The mulamu relationship, as we might expect, is incompatible with any 'metonymic' consanguineous pair of relationships, and also is incompatible with the asymmetric, 'metaphoric' relation- ship of X-3, but not with the symmetric 'metaphoric' relationship of X-1, and X-2. Thus intercourse with mukaza mulamu(one's wife's brother's wife, one's sister's husband's other wives) is simply considered to be adulterous and not maphingani, while that with mwana wa mulamu , which would combine X-4 with an incompati- ble X-3, is prohibited and results in maphingani. Similarly one's sister's husband's sister is forbidden, for such inter- course would put the wife-giver in the mulamu relation in the position of wife-receiver, cancelling the very foundation of this relationship which is based on an inverse relation with a single woman. Another irregularity, or rather peculiarity, of the Duruma conception of maphingagni is concerned with the A-3 relation, that is relationship between grandfather(tsawe) and grandson (mudzukulu). While apparently this is a consanguineous rela- tionship, A-3 seems compatible with X-1, X-2 -- because sexual relation with one's grandmother, sisters of one's grandfather(also called grandmother(wawe) are not considered to be maphingani -- and even X-4 relationships (because one's rela- tion with one's granddaughter is not regarded as maphingagni). It is only incompatible with X-3. As in many African societies, in Duruma, grandfathers and grandsons are considered equivalent in many respects. A new-born male baby is given the name of one of its grandfathers. Not only a true name( i.e. the name taken through one's clan, dzina ra fuko) but also the grandfather's nickname (dzina ra kusirikp'a) is given, and with the name goes the name-bearer's personal characteristics. The grandson is, in a sense, a replica of his grandfather. As between mulamu, theirs is also a joking relationship (indeed, a very extreme one), where grandfather and grandson call each other mulamu. The grandson calls wives of his grandfather, i.e., his grandmother, 'my wife muche wangu', and is addressed by the latter 'my husband mulume wangu'. In short the grandfather/grandson relationship is also the same kind of 'metaphoric' relation as that of mulamu. Grandfa- ther and grandson are related inversely with an intermediate male or female in the adjacent generation. Whereas one is related with this intermediate male as his son, the other is related with him as his father. The metaphoric nature of their relationship, overwhelming their relationship's metonymic elements, explains its peculiar position in the Duruma conception of maphingani. Incidentally, this also explains one irregularity in the relationship terminology where one's father's sister's husband is called mutsedza. If we assume the equivalence of grandfather and grandson, then it is not surprising that a grandson calls a man mutsedza whom his grandfather calls mutsedza; one's father's sister's husband is indeed, for one's grandfather, his son-in- law. X The Duruma notion of maphingani has been analyzed as a relationship connecting two consanguines of the same sex that is placed in jeopardy either by their sharing a single set of sexual partners who are themselves closely connected, or by sharing a single object associated with sexual intercourse. Unlike the traditional anthropological notion of 'incest', it is not a question of a relationship which unites two consanguines of different sex in a prohibited sexual relation. Curious as this conclusion may appear, this notion may prove to be not entirely new to many readers. Take, for example, the famous Freudian view of the mother-son incest (Freud 1925). In his controversial "Totem and Taboo" Freud also treated this as a problem of a father-son conflict over a single object of sexual desire. Though, in the final analysis, Freud reduced his theory to the particular libidinal situation pertaining to the mother- son relationship, his insight certainly grasped the point that what matters in the 'incestuous' situation is the relationship between protagonists of the same sex( i.e., father-son, brother- brother). More recently Rene Girard's theory of 'mimetic desire' has come to recognize this problem entirely from this perspective. He shows how 'mimetic desire' for the same object turns every protagonist into a mutual replica of each other, thus canceling whatever differences there once were between them (Girard 1972). His theory of 'mimetic desire' would probably be quite easy for the Duruma to understand, for this is precisely what underlies their conception of maphingani. This same logic even provides structures for their folktales, as can be seen in this summary of one version of a well-known Duruma folktale. Once upon a time, there were three brothers. In a nearby village there lived a beautiful girl, whom each of the three brothers wished to marry but never expressed their desire. One day the three brothers were sent by their father to go and buy cattle at a distant market. On the way they saw a man selling a looking glass through which you could see the scene of any place however distant it may be. The eldest brother bought it, and they continued their journey. On and on they went, and this time they found a man selling a woven basket that could fly like an aeroplane and carry people to a distant place in an in- stant. The next brother bought it. They continued their jour- ney, and then they saw another man selling a magical stick whose curative power is so great that it could even rervive the dead. The youngest brother bought it. They continued their journey, but then one day the eldest brother who was looking through his magical glass gave a cry. In the looking glass he could see their home country, where people were mourning the beautiful girl whom the tree brothers secretly loved in their hearts. She had just died and was ready to be buried. The second brother offered his magical basket, and they all returned to the village in an instance. The youngest brother touched the dead girl with his magical stick. To everyone's surprise she came alive again. But now started a severe quarrel among the three brothers. The eldest said that but for his looking glass they could not have known her death. Therefore it was he who deserved to marry her. The second brother said that but for his basket they could not have returned in time. It was he who should marry her. Finally the youngest brother asserted that but for his magical stick she could not have been made alive again. It was he who had the right to marry her. The three brothers were ready to start fighting at any moment. The elders of the village had a meeting to decide the issue. They decided that the girl be married to the father of the three brothers so that she be mother to all of them. They were all satisfied with this decision and lived happily. This is an astonishing solution. The brothers are involved in mutual enmity, with a single girl as the common object of their desire. Each becomes the other's reflected image which cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Were this a Japanese or a western folktale, such a situation would be fol- lowed by an actual contest of physical force or wisdom among the protagonists, each reduced to one another's reflected image, fighting against his own mirror images, which would finally leave a single protagonist as the only legitimate candidate for the marriage. In this contest, the metonymic differences which have related the three brothers to one another was diminished and finally canceled out, for us only to know that after all there had been no 'brothers' at all, and all that existed was a single hero and his metaphoric others, his shadowy replicas, who were destined to vanish in the face of this hero. But with this Duruma folktale, that is not the case. It simply follows a different course. The incredible transformation of the potential spouse, the object of desire common to three brothers, into their 'mother', returns everything to the status quo ante. Brothers may be brothers in their shared relationship with a woman as their mother, but they would no longer be brothers to one another in their shared relationship with a woman as their object of sexual relations. The two relationships are incompati- ble, and this is the very logic that underlies the Duruma concep- tion of maphingani. Reference Cited Arens, W.,1988, The Original Sin; Incest and its meaning. New York: Oxford University Press. Evans-Pritchard, E.E., 1951, Kinship and Marriage among the Nuer. Oxford: Clarendon Press Fox, R., 1980, The Red Lamp of Incest. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Freud, S., 1925, Totem und Tabu. Wien: Internationaler Psycho- analytischer Verlag Girard, R., 1972, La Violence et Le Sacre. Paris: Editions Bernard Grasset Kristeva, J., 1969, Rgleixsijg; Recherches pour une semanalyse. Paris: Editions du Seuil Needham, R., ed., 1971, Rethinking Kinship and Marriage. London: Tavistock Publications
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