!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
             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.
             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 
             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-
             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.
             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-
             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 
        (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.
             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 
             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-
             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? 
             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-
           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 
             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-
           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-
           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-
        (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 
             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 
             In  these cases too, maphingani  is concerned with  a  rela-
        tionship  between kin of the same sex, and not with  heterosexual 
        relations within kin.
             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 
             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
                  |  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.
             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-
             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 
             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 

             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-
             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-
             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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