Witchcraft in Post-colonial Africa
150 Pages
English
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Witchcraft in Post-colonial Africa

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Gain access to the library to view online
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150 Pages
English

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This is a comparative ethnographic study of witchcraft and associated violence between the kingdoms of Kom and Venda in Cameroon and South Africa respectively. The book shows why despite its prevalence in both societies, witchcraft does not lead to open violence in Kom, while such large-scale violence is commonplace in Venda. It reveals that this difference can be explained by factors such as the variations in local ideas on witches, differences in the role of traditional authorities, and various state interventions on witchcraft matters. The book demonstrates, through a rich collection of detailed cases, that contrary to anthropological theory that views witchcraft as a mechanism for the expression and resolution of social tensions and conflicts, witchcraft may at times become a disturbance of amicable social relations. Witchcraft accusations may occur in a context where strained social relations have not preceded them. The knowledge and experience that people have about witchcraft is sufficient to trigger an accusation and a violent reaction. Different forms of witchcraft account for variations in witchcraft attributions and accusations. This comparison provides a valuable contribution to ongoing witchcraft policy discourse amid widespread citizen anxiety over witchcraft, and the increasing call on the post-colonial state to intervene and protect its citizens against occult aggression.

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Published 10 October 2012
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EAN13 9789956728329
Language English
Document size 2 MB

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WITCHCRAFT IN POSTCOLONIAL AFRICA
WITCHCRAFT IN POSTCOLONIAL AFRICA Beliefs, techniques and containment strategies
Khaukanani Mavhungu
Witchcraft in Post-Colonial Africa Beliefs, Techniques and Containment Strategies Khaukanani MavhunguLangaa Research & Publishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com
ISBN: 9956-728-37-3 ©Khaukanani Mavhungu 2012
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Dedication A Tshivenda idiom warns that when one prospers in life, one should not trample on those that supported one:Nyavhumbwa wa
dagaila, wa kanda vho u vhumbaho.This book is dedicated to the late Professor Nkhumeleni Victor Ralushai, a tireless mentor to whom I will forever be indebted. Professor Ralushai often pricked my conscience by reminding me that I was more of a sell-out by not writing about our (African) culture than
those authors often criticised for having misrepresented it. Sadly he passed away in October 2011, before the publishing of this work. May this book symbolise his intellectual achievement even in death, a
testimony of life sacrificed in pursuit of a scholarship devoted to the development ofhis people.
Table of Contents Acknowledgements…………………………………………... v Foreword by Professor John Sharp…………………..……... vii Preface……………………………………………………….. ix Chapter One: Witchcraft Discourse in Post-Colonial Africa…………………………………………………………...1 Introduction…………………………………………………….. 1 Methodological approach……………………………………….. 6 Studies in witchcraft…………………………………………….. 12 Organisation of the book……………………………………….. 19 Chapter Two: Witches of Venda and Kom………………….. 21 The omnipresence of witchcraft……………………………....... 21 Kom……………………………………………………………. 24 Venda…………………………………………………………... 27 Witchcraft beliefs and practices………………………………… 29 Inherited witchcraft…………………………………………….. 33 Purchased witchcraft……………………………………………. 37 Witchcraft techniques…………………………………………... 40 Tshiliso/si luf a djem………………………………………………. 41 U shelela/lef……………………………………………………… 42 U livhanya/si ling………………………………………………….43 Afu a lemna/tshipfula…………………………………………....... 46 Ndadzi (lightning)………………………………………………… 47 Conclusion……………………………………………………… 49 Chapter Three: Containment of Witchcraft at Family and Community Levels……………………………………………..51Introduction…………………………………………………….. 51 Family containment of witchcraft………………………………. 52 Doctoring of a homestead……………………………………… 52 Protection of family members…………………………………... 53
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Community containment of witchcraft…………………………. 61 Combating witchcraft at village level in Venda………………….. 62 Ngwainkuma traditional council in Kom………………………... 67 The Kwifoyn banishes a witch from Kom……………………… 69 Conclusion……………………………………………………… 79 Chapter Four: Explaining Witchcraft Violence in Venda, Limpopo Province……………………………………………..81 Introduction……………………………………………………. 81 The fury of a rejected witchcraft of inheritance………………… 84 Implications for anthropological theories……………………….. 90 The Apartheid State and witchcraft violence……………………. 99 Conclusion……………………………………………………… 107 Chapter Five: Policy Options for Post-Colonial South Africa……………………………………………………109 Introduction…………………………………………………….. 109 Suppressing witchcraft beliefs and practices…………………….. 109 Recognising the reality of witchcraft……………………………. 113Criminalising witchcraft practice………………………………... 115 Conclusion……………………………………………………… 118 Bibliography………………………………………………….. 121
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