Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mwana palibe

In "The Nation" newspaper here in Malawi today there is an interesting
article about a cultural belief held by some in Malawi called mwana
palibe. According to the article couples who follow mwana palibe
should not have sex during the day if their children are not at home
nor should they have sex at night unless all their children are asleep
at home. If they do have sex outside of these times, then it is
believed that their children will become violently ill.
I'd like an anthropologist to explain this one to me.
On the other hand, publications do a disservice both to Africans and
their readers when they highlight the exotic or "wierd" aspects of
African cultures above those aspects that are more mundane and
therefore common to all cultures. The most common reaction to Africa
that I hear from travelers coming through our little home on the lake
is not how wierd and unfamliar it is but how accessible and "normal"
everything is. The point is not that difference is bad but that it is
usually exagerrated and that we should be suspicious of the reasons
why.
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