Mallory Primm
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September 1, 2009 @ 11:56 AM | Permalink

Today, soccer practice was canceled. So instead of running around for an hour, I sat in my Fiat station wagon and talked with Simphiwe. Simphiwe is the "first born" (read, "oldest") in her family. And, as the saying goes, its her job to chase away the thunder storms. Some Swazis believe that:

When it is raining, the First Born can chase away the storm. To do this, he or she must strip naked and go outside into the rain. Then, he or she must bend over, sticking his or her bum into the air. As the rain falls, the First Born waits for a drop to fall either "into her butt hole", as my friend explained, or "onto the anus" as an informative pamphlet explained. Then the storm will go away.

And Swazis have lots of great superstitions, at least according to what I've learned. Like if you jump over a fire, you'll pee blood. Or, if you eat directly from the cooking pot, it will rain on your wedding day.

A few months ago, I went out to rural Swaziland for a community school fundraiser. A group of us, part Swazi, part American, sat around a fire that evening at the school sharing different superstitions. The Swazi men had lots of great examples, like the ones above. When asked to share ours, we Americans just sort of looked at each other. Of course we have the old seven years bad sex -- or whatever it is -- for breaking a mirror, or walking under a ladder, but compared to pissing blood, they all seemed so meek. The only example I could come up with was the tooth fairy, which seemed to do more to confuse my new Swazi friends, than bridge cultural divides.


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A good lesson for us all

Nicolle OConnor on Country Western and other Music in Swaziland 2009-06-11

just wondering if you have published any results?

David Broska on Into the Field 2010-06-19

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