This volume brings together many of the brightest and most interesting anthropologists writing on the current situation hi South Africa. The volume, initially conceived as a tribute to the work of Philip Mayer, the author of Townsmen and Tribesmen, continues a tradition of digging into the interstices of South African society - at the folk, tribal, as well as national levels.
Each contribution provides insight into the ways hi which people respond to changes in their immediate social environment. In particular, the chapters each examine the myriad ways in which tradition is a critical factor for those who must cope with the trauma of social and economic transition. This theme, central to the work of Philip and lona Mayer, allows the reader to probe the core issues of South Africa and provide a theoretical structure for the study of other societies hi similar states of transition to modernity.
This is no random collection, but rather a tightly organized ensemble that gets far beyond the rhetoric of newspaper editorializing and political attitudinizing. Among the essays are: "Speaking for Themselves"; "Kalela, Beni, Asafo, Ingoma, and the Rural-Urban Dichotomy"; "Social Existence and the Practice of Personal Integrity"; "Migration and Ethnicity"; "The Origins of the Indlavini"; "Using Ritual to Resist Domination in the Transkei"; "Polygamy as Myth"; "Kinship Authority and Political Authority in Precolonial South Africa"; "Relying on Kin"; "Traditional Husbands and Modern Wives"; "Abafazi Bathonga Bafihlakala."