Chapter

Identifying Ngoma

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520072657.003.0003
Identifying Ngoma

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This chapter raises the possibility that ngoma is indeed a classical manifestation of Central and Southern African ritual. It specifically considers evidence about the constellation of musical instruments utilized in the rituals of therapy, in an attempt to clarify the relationship of the instrument type named ngoma to other aspects of the ritual and the wider institution. It then addresses the social and cultural variables that have shaped the institution, and how, as a distinctive institution, it has been represented, or misrepresented, in social research. The musical instruments that accompany ngoma and other healing rites offer intriguing clues from a nonverbal domain. The identity of ngoma as an institution and as a behavioral process, often with name recognition, should satisfy scholarship.

Keywords: ngoma; Central African ritual; Southern African ritual; musical instruments; therapy; institution; healing rites

Chapter.  10645 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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