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Rites of passage overseas? – On the sojourn of Mozambican students and scholars in Cuba

Hauke Dorsch

Africa Spectrum, 2008, vol. 43, issue 2, 225-244

Abstract: Since 1977 Mozambican students are being sent to Cuba for secondary, higher or technical education. This article analyses this collective experience as a modernized version of rites of passage, aiming at preparing the respective initiates for life in modern Mozambican society. After presenting a short overview of Cuban-African relations since 1959 and the experiences of Mozambican students in Cuba, the usefulness of the ‘classical’ approaches in this field, Gennep’s concept of ‘rites de passage’ and Turner’s ideas of ‘communitas’ and ‘liminality’, are being discussed. Arguing in favour of the usefulness of these concepts the article nevertheless criticizes underlying static concepts of society that ignore the dynamic aspects of society.

Date: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:43:y:2008:i:2:p:225-244