A search for life-giving marriage : the Imbusa initiation rite as a space for constructing wellbeing among married Bemba women of Zambia.
This empirical study analyses whether and how the Imbusa initiation rite is used to construct ‘subordinate femininities’ among married Bemba women of Zambia. Imbusa initiation rite is very significant for Bemba and Zambian women despite the many changes that have significantly altered their religio-cultural practices. It is something that makes every parent proud of their daughter because it is more or less a public declaration that they have raised their daughter with good morals as understood by Bemba people. This study has used two frameworks, first, African women theologies because African women theologies draw their sources from rites, rituals, songs, proverbs, riddles and so on. Secondly, I used status construction within social psychological theory because those with authority in groups define the outcomes and expectations of their group. For instance, banacimbusa among the Bemba people determine what should comprise the teachings in Imbusa and how an initiated woman has to behave in marriage. Utilizing mixed methods, the aim was to understand women’s views about ways in which the Imbusa rite contribute to the identity of Bemba and other Zambian women in marriage. I have proposed a framework for a life-giving marriage; first the need for banacimbusa who are gender sensitive in their teachings; second, African feminist Imbusa pedagogy, teachings that equip women for dialogue in marriage. And third, a holistic approach to sexuality in marriage.