Theses Doctoral

Gender and Rituals: With Special Reference to the Social Role of Royal Mothers in the Royal Family of Eswatini (Swaziland)

Dlamini, Mihlakayifani

This dissertation examined the social role of royal mothers with an analysis of the issues of rituals and gender within the context of the eMaswati kingship. The Siswati royal rituals have attracted attention from researchers in various fields of the social sciences, focusing on the iNgwenyama (King), the hereditary head of the Emalangeni (Royal family) and ruler of the eMaswati. With the recent shift in many of these fields towards a focus on gender roles, new needs arise from an understanding of the social role of eSwatini royal mothers. Royal mothers fulfilled a role based on sacred rituals which were oriented to the construction of the sociopolitical power of the Bukhosi (Monarchy).
The iNdlovukazi (Queen Mother) and eMakhosikati (Queens) are a significant feature of the culture of the eMaswati. When the Umntfwana (Crown Prince) is ready to ascend the throne, the Nabo-Mntfwana (Mother of Crown Prince) is the first to ascend to the throne and becomes the iNdlovukazi (Queen Mother). In the same fashion, the Umntfwana (Crown Prince) at his coronation then becomes the iNgwenyama (King). Moreover, the iNdlovukazi is the biological mother of a reigning iNgwenyama; she is a social, political, and ritual authority, the mother of the Emalangeni (Royal family), and the supreme mother of the eMaswati. Finally, the iNdlovukazi and eMakhosikati are recognized as essential to the family organization, a symbol of Likhaya (motherhood). The Emalangeni (Royal family), the Dlamini clan, formed the nucleus of the eMaswati.
Under these circumstances, throughout history, royal mothers have performed and fulfilled duties that other cultures reserved for male-gendered roles. During the reign of an iNgwenyama (King), royal mothers faced severe problems, especially in ensuring continuity. Presenting a historical perspective from the standpoint of the Emalangeni illuminates how the essential sources of the royal family originated with them.
The results of the accounts also provide an analysis of who the iNdlovukazi (Queen Mother) is, how or when she becomes one, and under what circumstances. Moreover, the positions of mothers in the royal family, namely the eMakhosikati (Queens), are situated around their role to that of the iNdlovukazi.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Interdisciplinary Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Comitas, Lambros
Jensen Leichter, Hope
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
August 27, 2019