Chapungu: Bird That Never Drops a Feather

Male and Female Identities in African Society

Anita Jacobson-Widding


The book is out of print.


In this theoretically rich and ethnographically detailed book, Anita Jacobson-Widding provides a classical anthropological study of identity formation for Manyika males and females in eastern Zimbabwe. Drawing on various theoretical streams of psychological, cognitive, and symbolic anthropology, and on 21 months of fieldwork in villages in Mutasa and Nyanga districts and in the city of Mutare through three trips between 1984 and 1996, Jacobson-Widding explains the ethical construction of the self, the conflicting gender and kinship ideologies of equality and hierarchy, and intrafamily dynamics of the Manyika, who are conventionally classified as one of the subgroups of the Shona.


... the author's theoretical sophistication, syncretism, and critiques are of interest to psychological, cognitive, and symbolic anthropologists involved in these topics on a theoretical level or in other localities. In Chapungu, Jacobson-Widding has given us a richly layered ethnography speaking to many audiences. - Blair Rutherford, American Anthropologist


Anita Jacobson-Widding (b.1934, née Tarelius) is a cultural anthropologist and professor of ethnology at Uppsala University (Sweden).