SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 issue44"A lot of them are good buggers": the African "foreigner" as South Africa's discursive OtherUsing Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to evaluate an education support NGO in Soweto author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Psychology in Society

On-line version ISSN 2309-8708
Print version ISSN 1015-6046


MARTIN, Jarred; VAN WIJK, Charles; HANS-ARENDSE, Chesray  and  MAKHABA, Luvuyo. "Missing in action": the significance of bodies in African bereavement rituals. Psychol. Soc. [online]. 2013, n.44, pp.42-63. ISSN 2309-8708.

The authors of this paper offer a turn to embodiment in exploring the role of bodies in "black", South African bereavement rituals and mourning practices2. This paper is born out of the trauma de-briefing program for the crew of a South African Navy vessel after the death of a comrade during an anti-piracy operation off the east coast of southern Africa. Herein we attempt to grapple with the unique complexities of the physical presence of bodies in African mourning rituals in the context of the deceased's body being "lost at sea". First we establish the operational context of naval deployment and the loss of the sailor's body at sea. Second we outline some of the corporeal configurations of black South African bereavement rituals. Here we draw specific attention to bodies in processes of grief and mourning, for the deceased and mourners. Lastly, drawing on testimonies from four South African Navy personnel present during the operational deployment, we highlight the significant role played by bodies in African bereavement rituals. In sum, we suggest the need to re-matter the materiality of bodies in psychological literature on African bereavement rituals.

Keywords : African bereavement rituals; bodies; South African Navy; military grief rituals; lost at sea.

        · text in English     · English ( pdf )


Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License