Holding body and soul together: utilizing women's options in a changing Zimbabwean society
Moss, Barbara A.
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Prior to the coming of Europeans to what is now Zimbabwe African women occupied positions of importance and respect by virtue of their roles as wives and agriculturalists. Their primary responsibility of providing food for the family granted them access to land rights. Women also played an influential role in the family as the Semukadzi, Tete or Bambomukunda. She was one's sister, father's sister, grandfather's sister or great grandfather’s sister. Her role was that of family lawyer, and judge in household quarrels, inheritance disputes, and intra-family relationships. Traditionally her power and influence stemmed from the fact that her lobola was used by some member, or members, of her father’s family to secure their own wives, thus she assumed the title of Semukadzi "the owner of the wife.