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154  INTIMACY COMMEMORATIONS In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, death does not indicate the final termination of a human being’s existence, but merely a leap from the visible to the invisible dimensions of life. Through commemorative ceremonies and divinatory rituals, relations between the living and the dead are reproduced. Living family members may ask favours from their deceased ancestors who, in return, may ask descendants to fulfil certain obligatory tasks. By so doing, deceased ancestors continue to affect and oftentimes even guide the lives of their living descendants. HOUSES While many urbanites in sub-Saharan Africa feel a sense of belonging to places outside of the city (e.g. their natal home), a house is the place where they live. It fulfils the need for permanent shelter, privacy and intimacy. In many lineagebased societies, kinship is made not merely on the basis of descent but also out of ties to land, locality and houses that endure through time. And, still, many houses are never completed. As economic and personal conditions change, building a house might become a process that goes on for as long as people live in them.


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