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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Authenticity' and Ritual Gone Awry in Mobuto's Zaire: Looking beyond Turnerian Models
Author:Roberts, Allen F.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:political ideologies
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1581329.pdf
Abstract:'Authenticity' became a watchword of Zairian politics in the early 1970s, when President Mobutu launched a campaign to eschew nostalgia for vestiges of the colonial period. Zairians were told by their president that they were to seek recourse to 'Authenticity'. In the mid-1970s, many people in Zaire distrusted the messengers of 'Authenticity'. Yet, the ideological message was by no means disregarded. Economically, life was hard, yet people felt that this was a time to review the basic tenets of the colonial period till then largely upheld by postcolonial regimes. How to cope with personal misfortune, how to seek redress in an era of 'recourse to Authenticity', were issues debated and tested through cases such as that of the execution of a man in Lubanda village who was accused of killing another man through sorcery. The man was executed by the sons of his 'victim'. In the aftermath of this execution the community of Lubanda was nearly destroyed. The author presents a detailed description of these events, which took place in 1975. In doing so, he shows that religious drama and related local-level politics cannot be understood to the exclusion of regional, national and even international affairs. In this way, he presents the broader historical context of local-level politics beyond where Victor Turner, in various studies, might have left the same story. Bibliogr., notes, ref.