man control through modern contraceptives (so-called family planning). The assumption regarding people in Africa (or in the Third World in general) being more ‘primitive’ than the West, would be that they are also more ‘natural’, with sex as a matter of course being linked to procreation. This however is not the case. There are many indications of clear distinctions between sex for pleasure and sex for procreation. There are also indications that marriage in Africa in precolonial days dealt with control of fertility, more than with control of sexuality as such. “This separation of fertility and sexuality is crucial to any analysis of Southern Africa’s pre-capitalist societies,” Jeff Guy says (1987:32)—a statement which can be generalized, I presume, to larger parts of the continent. There is also plenty of evidence that in pre-colonial, pre-Christian times, “non-reproductive sexual relations took place comparatively freely between unmarried adults” (Guy 1987:32. Cf. also: Guy 1990; Hunter 2002; Delius and Glaser 2002; Becker, this volume).
What mattered in kinship contexts was control of sex for procreation. Sex in itself was much less severely controlled, as long as it did not result in pregnancies. Historical sources from Kwa-Zulu Natal describe how ukusoma—non-penetra- tive thigh-sex—made it possible for young men and women to engage in sex before marriage without fearing for the consequences in terms of pregnancies (Hunter 2002:106, CGE 2000:24). In matrilineal northern Mozambique pre-pu- berty/pre-marriage sexual relations were distinctly encouraged, in order that the women should be properly educated for adulthood. The marker of adulthood was the initiation ritual, immediately after which young women were expected to marry. The efundula-ceremony reported by Becker from matrilineal Owamboland had a similar function of marking the transformation from free playful sexuality to a different stage where women (and men) must take responsibility for procreation. In Owamboland, according to Becker (building on among others Reverend Wulf – horst’s observations) prior to the advent of Christianity, young women had enjoyed largely unrestrained sexual freedom. Many had sexual relations with men “as if they were married” and many young women had fiances who visited them at their leisure with the knowledge and approval of their parents. The society being matrilineal, marriage was not a big deal—the offspring would stay with the mother’s family anyway—and men were largely brought into the context as procreators. Parallel to marriage ceremonies in patrilineal contexts, it was here the female initiation rituals, efundula, which marked the transformation from young girls to adult women.
Playful sexuality might continue however, even after adulthood/marriage, in extra-marital relations, provided that they were conducted with proper discretion, and provided that no pregnancies resulted. In Zimbabwe, in the mid-1990s, I was told about a rule demanding that a man, who has been away for a while and who unexpectedly returns to his homestead, must whistle when approaching his house in order to alert his wife to his coming—thus making sure he will not catch her in an embarrassing situation. In colonial Zululand according to Hunter (2003) married women’s secret lovers were called isidikiselo, the top of the pot; these complemented the woman’s husband, her ibhodwe, the main pot (Hunter 2003:15). There