opportunity of obtaining training in professions such as nursing which allowed them to develop new perspectives within a changing society (Becker, 1995:105).
Altered gendered sexualities played themselves out in different ways in the Owambo communities. The growing attraction to Christianity as a cultural strategy to claim modernity did not necessarily mean that people abandoned older cultural forms altogether. The practice of initiation and other cultural institutions related to gender and sexuality, such as the oudano moonlight dances of the youth, continued throughout the colonial era. Ian Fairweather (2001:218) has argued recently that the participation or non-participation in ceremonies such as efundula were significant ways of making statements about identities. This may be the case, to an extent at least. However, as has been discussed elsewhere, even members of the Christian elite in the Finnish mission’s heartland in Ondonga appropriated heterogeneous strategies that enveloped Christian and older local cultural discourses on gender (Becker 2000b). It appears that cultural forms that had played a significant role in shaping and giving expression to gendered sexualities persevered, but were discursively increasingly shrouded in silence. The ostensibly contradictory discourse of the administration and Owambo authorities on the healthy, ‘tribal’ traditions picturing young women rarely presented a counterpoint: while it rendered young women’s bodies visible, it silenced their desires and aspirations.