Kutanda botso ritual among the Shona people of Zimbabwe: How gender is reflected, sustained and re-created?
Kutanda botso (ritual cleansing to appease the aggrieved deceased biological mother/paternal aunt’s spirit) among the Shona people of Zimbabwe was examined to understand how gender preference of motherhood is reflected than fatherhood. It starts with a local social norm (do not scold, beat up or kill your biological mother asyou will suffer the consequences of an avenging spirit). While this social norm reflects the valued services of the mother to her children and the need to avoid perpetuating violence against one’s biological mother on one hand, on the other, when a grown up son/daughter violates this social norm, recourse is sought through a ritual ceremony which extol and venerate the female gender. As such, besides being a violence deterrent against one’s biological mother by grown up sons and daughters, kutanda botso is meant to help the female gender to emancipate themselves out of their self-perceived and socially constructed identities that they are weaker and inferior to their male counterparts.
Keywords: gender; kutanda botso; mother’s day, violence; Shona people; Zimbabwe