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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Witches and Missionaries in Nineteenth Century Transvaal
Author:Delius, Peter
Year:2001
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:27
Issue:3
Period:September
Pages:429-443
Language:English
Geographic terms:Transvaal
South Africa
Subjects:missions
Pedi
witchcraft
history
traditional polities
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/823309
Abstract:The records of the Berlin Missionary Society (BMS) make possible at least a partial reconstruction of witchcraft beliefs within the Pedi Kingdom (Transvaal, South Africa) in the 1860s. This paper uses the perspective provided by this material to reinterpret a key episode in the history of the region - the clashes between Christian converts and wider Pedi society in the 1860s. It shows that while the BMS records support the view that witches have long been seen as a profound threat to well-being within Pedi society, they do not suggest that large-scale witch-hunts were commonplace in the precolonial period. The paper further suggests that the contemporary tendency to see women as particularly prone to witchcraft is not paralleled in 19th-century accounts and may therefore be the result of processes of social change set in motion late in the century. Notes, ref., sum.
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