Settings and Samples in African Cults of Affliction

John M. Janzen

in Ngoma

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1992 | ISBN: 9780520072657
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910850 | DOI:
Settings and Samples in African Cults of Affliction

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This chapter presents an impressionistic picture of cults of affliction in Kinshasa, Zaire; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Mbabane-Manzini, Swaziland; and Cape Town, South Africa. Nkita is associated with bisimbi nature spirits, and often involved in the regeneration and maintenance of lineage government. Lemba represented a ritualized concern for several dimensions of society. Furthermore, some of the changes that cults of affliction undergo with urbanization are discussed. In Dar es Salaam, the therapeutic ngoma are a small part of all ngoma, but a very central and formative part. A case study that shows some of the characteristic stresses of life for blacks in the Western Cape is reported. Affliction cults in Central and Southern Africa have expressed the classic theme of identifying and utilizing marginality, adversity, risk, or suffering for the ever-necessary task of renewing society in the face of profound economic and social change.

Keywords: affliction cults; Kinshasa; Dar es Salaam; Mbabane-Manzini; Cape Town; nkita; lemba; ngoma

Chapter.  18234 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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