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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Witches and witch-hunters: witchcraft, generational relations and the life cycle in a lowveld village
Author:Stadler, JonathanISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189608707841
Abstract:This article describes witchcraft accusations and witch-hunting in a lowveld village in the former 'homeland' district of Mhala, Gazankulu, in the northeasern Transvaal lowveld, South Africa. Two dominant trends are revealed. Firstly, middle-aged men and the elderly are the prime targets of witchcraft accusations. Secondly, the younger generation have assumed a leading role in antiwitchcraft campaigns. The article seeks to explain these phenomena from the perspective of generational relations and concepts of the life cycle. The phenomenon of witchcraft is examined on two levels. At the level of private accusations, individuals at certain stages of the life cycle are thought to be predisposed to practising witchcraft and are thus more vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft. With regard to public witch-hunts, the role of young men as witch-hunters can be seen as an attempt by the younger generation to displace elders' authority. The article is based on interviews conducted over a six-month period in 1990 and 1991. Notes, ref., sum.