When I was in high school I believed that the masungiro practice was about tying a pregnant woman and a goat on the same tree. I was angry because I believed that my Shona culture ill-treated an expectant mother. When I visited my grandmother during the holidays and l was researching about one cultural practice of my choice and I chose the kusungira or masungiro. The first question that I asked my grandmother was how had she survived being tied to a tree more than five times. My grandmother stared at me in disbelief and agreed to explain to me the masungiro practice.
Masungiro or kusungira is a practice/ceremony where a newly married woman who has fallen pregnant for the first time, is taken back to her parents to live with them from six months to until she gives birth.-(Fingaz. 10 April 2014.first pregnancy traditional rituals. Financial Gazette.)
This practice is done to ensure that the expectant mother is comfortable and well taken care of during her first delivery. If the mother of the expectant mother is out of town the son-in-law can organize for his ambuya(mother-in-law to come). However, if there are good health care facilities in the area where the mother of the expectant mother lives the daughter can end up giving birth there. The masungiro process is helpful because the last trimester of pregnancy can be challenging for the expectant mother. The new mother might need moral support, someone who ensures that she eats healthy and get some rest before and after the baby is born. When the child is born the new mother might need assistance while bathing or feeding the baby. The masungiro process enables the mother to get some rest and adjust to her new sleeping routine.
However, there are some disadvantages to the masungiro practice. The father of the child might miss out on spending time with their child when the child is born. Sometimes the new parents might be living in a different country and continent and their parents might fail to travel and assist the new mother. Not everyone’s parents are still alive and the Sarapavana(guardian) might not be willing to host the new mother or travel to and assist the couple.
Have a good day!