Image Database Export Citations


The Emergence of Female Village Headwomen in Rumphi and Implications for Land Use and Management

Show full item record

Type: Conference Paper
Author: Munthali, Alister C.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2176
Sector: Social Organization
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): women
land tenure and use
resource management
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "The Tumbuka are normally described as patrilineal where inheritance of property including land, cattle and village headmanship is from the father to the son. Historical evidence, however, is increasingly suggesting that initially the Tumbuka were matrilineal. It has been argued that it was the coming and interaction with the Ngoni and the behaviour of one of the chiefs, among other factors, that transformed the Tumbuka into a patrilineal society. As a patrilineal society, village heads are normally men and land and other property is owned and inherited by men. Increasingly, however, there is an emergence of female village headmen in this patrilineal society. This paper, using data from the Malawian Land Tenure and Social Capital (MLTSC) project, examines the factors that have led to this transformation, implications for matrimonial residence and access to and ownership of land by women. Preliminary analysis of the data is showing that female chiefs are largely single and have qualities of leadership including umunthu. They are also chosen because there is no son or eligible male in the lineage to inherit the village headmanship. In terms of land inheritance, although land is largely inherited by sons there is evidence from the data that in cases where there are no sons land can be inherited by daughters and daughters also have access to land if they are divorced and they return to their villages. These changes in the patrilineal Tumbuka society have wider policy implications which need to be examined."

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Munthali_111001.pdf 92.42Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show full item record