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Title: Rites of birth and initiation into womanhood among the Ewe-dome of Ghana : a theological and ethical perspective
Author: Ganusah, Rebecca Yawa
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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Abstract:
The thesis is based on a research that was carried out among some groups of people in Ewe-dome of Ghana. Ewe-dome is a sub-group of a larger ethnic group, the Ewe. The Ewe-dome, indeed, like many other African people, believe that the world is made up not only of the physical things that we perceive but also that the world has a spiritual dimension to it. Human persons in particular, are perceived as comprising flesh as well as gbogbo (spiritual breath of life), received from Mawu (the ultimate creator God of the universe). The physio-spiritual life of a person is also perceived as going through various stages of existence. There is the stage of birth, the stage of puberty, marriage stage, the stage of death, and the stage of ancestorhood. These stages are found to be crucial in a person's life and are, therefore, marked in various rites. The rites that are performed at the various stages are transpersonal, in other words, members of the community need to know about the various stages that a person has entered and participants in the activities that are associated with them. Although the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, the dominant Church in the area, has permitted Christina women to undergo the rite of initiation into womanhood, some Christian young women, in these days (around the 1990s) are refusing to perform the rite. To such Christians, the rite is unchristian. It is also clear that some Christians are unwilling to perform some aspects of the birth rite which to them are considered unchristian. The non-performance of the rites by some members of the community is creating various difficulties of conscience for individuals as well as for whole groups of people in Ewe-dome society. What is unchristian about the rites? is the question that some have been asking. For some Christians and traditional religious believers, the refusal to perform the rite of initiation into womanhood is simply a deliberate show of disrespect for a cultural institution that has been found to be essential to the social health of Ewe-dome society. We want to study in this thesis, what exactly are the rites of birth and initiation into womanhood (among the Ewe-dome of Ghana). We want to find out among other things, the basis for the performance of the rites; the impact of the Christian faith and other forms of modernity on the traditional rites; whether the rites have any positive values and whether they are relevant in contemporary Ewe-dome society; and how far the individual in Ewe-dome can claim to have rights of his or her own in the traditional understanding of society. In the final analysis, we shall assess how far a resolution is possible, where there is a clash between the traditional practices and the Christian faith as well as what form a resolution might take where there is a clash of the traditional practices with the moral and ethical issues that are raised by internationally recognised conventions like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.651220  DOI: Not available
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