Twins Taboo in Mananjary: An Ancestral Tradition of the Dead that Strongly Dominates the Lives of the Living


  • Marcel SAITIS “Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad, Romania


On the southeast coast of Madagascar there was an ancestral tradition called fady kambana or the taboo on twins, which placed a curse on twins born in the Antambahoaka ethnic group. In the past they were exterminated, now they are only abandoned, but with a very high mortality rate due to abandonment. This paper is a study on this Antambahoaka taboo. This group could be accused of serious crimes against humanity if they were not understood in their context. That is why we want to understand what a taboo means in the Malagasy context. We will probe the historical roots of this taboo and the consequences of not respecting it in Antambahoaka society. We will have a look at the twins’ side to see what terrible trauma they are experiencing because of this curse on them. Internal pressure from other ethnic groups and international pressure from certain child protection agencies has led to the issue of Law 23/2007, which we will analyze in relation to the abuse of twins. Finally, we will analyze the long-term solutions to this long-standing conflict between ancestral tradition and civil law on the taboo on twins.