Emergent rites of passage in Botswana: The case study of Naomi/Laban showers

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Mmapula Diana Kebaneilwe
Elizabeth Motswapong
Senzokuhle Setume
Musa W. Dube
Rosinah Gabaitse
Tirelo Modie-Moroka
Malebogo Kgalemang
Tshenolo Madigele


A group of researchers from the University of Botswana carried out research on “Botho/Ubuntu and Community Building in the Urban Space: An exploration of Naomi, Laban, Bridal and Baby Showers in Gaborone” which was generously funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The aim of the research was to explore how the African/Setswana concept of Botho/Ubuntu inspires the showers in urban and peri-urban villages in Botswana. Our observation on these showers is that the beneficiaries are assisted, oriented and re-orientated, taught, advised, and supported materially, emotionally and morally by the community as they enter new stages and statuses of their lives. The study was carried out within Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana and the surrounding villages. This paper is limited to two of the four showers studied, namely, Naomi and Laban showers. The said showers are the newest in the country. The project employed a mixed method design which combined quantitative and qualitative research methods. The paper examined how, and to what extent, the two showers constitute emergent rites of passage and how these express the Ubuntu/botho ethos. The main findings of the study were that the Laban /Naomi showers are emerging rites of passage, which, like traditional rites of passage, express the Botho/Ubuntu ethos. However, these emergent rites of passage go beyond the traditional ones in that they are more inclusive, and cater for the needs of contemporary urban citizens.

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