Gamba spirits, gender relations, and healing in post-civil war Gorongosa, Mozambique




This article describes the ways in which in post-civil war Gorongosa (central Mozambique), women (and occasionally men) with personal and/or family experiences of extreme suffering are the focal point of possession by male, war-related spirits named gamba. However, gamba spirits also create post-war healing in which memory work and gender politics play an essential role. This type of post-war healing is demonstrated through a secret, contractual ceremony in which a male living suitor demands permission from a gamba spirit, lodged in the body of a young woman (his deemed wife), to marry that woman.


Royal Anthropological Institute






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