The use of personal names in respect of the living-dead within traditional polygynous families in Kwamambulu, Kranskop.
Ngidi, Evangeline Bonisiwe.
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The thesis underpinning this dissertation is based on the Zulu people’s belief in the living-dead and the fact that the latter control the lives of their living descendants. The living descendants use names to express their dissatisfaction with one another. The families perform rituals to appease the living-dead. The living-dead are perceived as guardian angels who are closer to God. They are believed to be able to reward good behavior and reprimand those who are not behaving in an acceptable manner. Names, as Bhengu (1975:52) states, connect people to their living-dead. It is therefore important that this relationship with the living-dead is maintained. Friction is always going to be a problem in polygynous families. Avoiding confrontation is important to people who want to appease their living-dead, who control their lives. Personal names act as a deterrent to angering the living-dead. In a situation where getting even is not an option, opting for a name to voice your disapproval is the easy way out. Names become communication channels between members of the family and the community at large. This study is done from an ethnographic perspective with an attempt to fully describe a variety of aspects of a cultural group to enhance understanding of the people being studied. Spradley (1980:3) states that “The essential core of ethnography is the concern with the meaning of actions and events to the people we seek to understand”. This understanding may be seen as the basis of the method; through ethnographic study, the researcher comes to comprehend, through detailed observation, the existences of peoples and their cultures.