oa Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Tombstone unveiling among Shona Christians: Phenomenologicaland biblical reflections

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



From the mid-1990s, Zimbabwe experienced an upsurge in ritual activities that centred around tombstone unveiling. In this ritual process, relatives and friends of the deceased gather to remember his or her time on earth, culminating in the unveiling of the tombstone. The timing of this rite has often corresponded to the ceremony designed to transform the spirit of the deceased into an ancestral spirit. It is this ambiguity regarding the identity of the ritual that has seriously challenged the African Christian community in Zimbabwe.

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