Chapter

How Ngoma Works

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/9780520072657.003.0006
How Ngoma Works

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This chapter seeks to understand how knowledge is constructed and used. It then covers the application of several academic analytic evaluations of ngoma, including the role of metaphor shaping, of consensus, and of the range of manipulations that shape affect of sufferer and therapists alike. It then investigates the conscious indigenous theories about ngoma, which are usually based on the hypothesis of spirit possession as the basis of the misfortune. The relationship of scientific or empirical knowledge to ritual healing is covered. Spirit is a manner of speaking, a hypothesis, a format. The “spirit” hypothesis is what brings the individual experience into the orbit of ngoma. However, spirit is not what it appears to be, nor is it equally strong in all expressions.

Keywords: ngoma; metaphor shaping; indigenous theories; spirit possession; ritual healing; misfortune

Chapter.  9095 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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