Hugo Hinfelaar described, for precolonial times, a comprehensive domestic religion and family spirituality which he called “traditional dogma” or “family dogma”. What is left of it in Zambia? When and for what purposes are traditional religious beliefs invoked today and scrutinised in marriage and the domestic sphere? While many say, “We have no culture left!” traditional dogma continues to function as a “moral grammar” that anchors cultural identity. The marital life of a couple becomes scrutinised along traditional beliefs during family crises. When people accept this scrutiny, they (re-)submit themselves under the wider family and thereby reconstitute the family under the traditional moral compass. On the one hand, Christian churches came with meticulous moral and sexual standards which were to replace traditional beliefs, while on the other hand, they belittled and bypassed the domestic self-regulating mechanisms that enforce morality, because they were linked to traditional beliefs. I am writing this paper from my perspective as a Catholic priest, who experiences, much like Hugo Hinfelaar did, that the void left by tradition has not been filled by the Christian faith. Hinfelaar’s concern for a creative dialogue between Christianity and traditional dogma still waits to be adopted.
"Domestic Morality, “Traditional Dogma”, and Christianity in a Rural Zambian Community,"
Zambia Social Science Journal: Vol. 8:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/zssj/vol8/iss1/2