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J Homosex. 1985 Summer;11(3-4):97-116.

"Mummies and babies" and friends and lovers in Lesotho.


This paper examines an institutionalized friendship among adolescent girls and young women in southern Africa. Lesotho's economy is based on migrant male labor which leaves the women dependent on male earnings or subsistence from the land, and also creates unstable marital relations. Young girls in the modern schools develop close relationships, called "mummy-baby," with slightly older girls. Sexual intimacy is an important aspect of these relationships. Mummy-baby relationships not only provide emotional support prior to marriage, but also a network of support for married and unmarried women in new towns or schools, either replacing or accompanying heterosexual bonds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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