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Title: Fatness and Culture among the Southern Mongo (Zaire): The Case of the Primiparous Nursing Woman
Authors: PAGEZY, Helene
Keywords: Motherhood ritual
Central Africa
Body image
Biocultural interaction
Issue Date: Oct-1991
Publisher: The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African Study Monographs
Volume: 12
Issue: 3
Start page: 149
End page: 160
Abstract: This paper describes the motherhood ritual of the primiparous mother among the Southern Mongo in Zaire, who is secluded from her husband for a long time after the delivery. Various prescriptions are imposed on her in order to confer on her a social status of molekele, a real mother. She is not allowed to work in the fields, prepare food, nor have sexual intercourse even with her husband during the seclusion period, and is given good quality food. By improving the nutritional status of the mother and child, these prescriptions result in a plump physique of molekele, and show an interesting example of biocultural interaction. The songs sung at the seclusion-ending festival, which is specific to each woman, refer to her story during the seclusion and glorify her fat appearance which is highly valued in the society.
DOI: 10.14989/68079
Appears in Collections:Vol.12 No.3

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