Book review: Witchcraft in South Africa
Gary Kynoch, H-Net reviews Witchcraft, Violence and Democracy by Adam Ashforth
Many Northern academics, along with their African counterparts, are reluctant to engage with the concept of witchcraft for fear of appearing to label Africans as primitive. However, like it or not, notions of magic and witchcraft often play a prominent role in politics, armed conflict, perceptions of health and sickness, and all manner of social relationships. Instead of ignoring this basic reality, we need to acknowledge and investigate these dynamics.
Adam Ashforth embraces this challenge with his declaration that "no one can understand life in Africa without understanding witchcraft and the related aspects of insecurity". Beyond simply describing the purchase that witchcraft has on life in Soweto, Ashforth sets out to examine the relationship between witchcraft beliefs and democracy in South Africa. >> continue