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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sorcery and Witchcraft with the Bayeyi and Hambukusku: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
Author:Larson, Thomas J.ISNI
Periodical:South African Journal of Ethnology
Geographic term:Botswana
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:This article examines sorcery and witchcraft with two Bantu-speaking peoples of Ngamiland in Botswana, the Bayeyi and the Hambukushu. Both Bayeyi and Hambukushu have strongly entrenched beliefs in sorcery and witchcraft as a form of aggression mainly caused by aspirations towards the inheritance of cattle and other forms of wealth within the extended kinship group. After having defined a sorcerer as someone who deliberately conspires to learn or to acquire the knowledge of how to kill people and cause misfortune, and a witch as someone who does bad things because he or she was born that way, most of the article is devoted to sorcerers, who are the most feared and dreaded of the two categories: how to become a sorcerer, how sorcerers operate, how to protect oneself from their evils, and how they are punished. Because the central authority in Botswana has prohibited the execution of those accused of sorcery, perpetrators of this crime can only be sought out and punished by the further use of alleged supernatural practices and medicines. The Bayeyi and Hambukushu contend that nowadays there are more sorcerers and witches in their midst than ever before. Bibliogr., sum. in English and Afrikaans.