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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What Makes a Woman A Witch?
Author:Badoe, Yaba
Periodical:Feminist Africa
Geographic term:Ghana
gender relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Religion and Witchcraft
mass media
External link:http://www.agi.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/429/feminist_africa_journals/archive/05/fa_5_feature_article_2.pdf
Abstract:This article is a shortened version of a much longer report the author wrote for the Mapping Sexualities Project over a five-month period in Ghana (2004-2005). It is based on research conducted in Gambaga in the Northern Region. It highlights the narrative of Asara Azindow, a successful businesswoman, one of the nineteen people interviewed, whose story was recorded in the 'witches' camp' in Gambaga in December 2004. In underdeveloped, mainly rural northern Ghana, 70 percent of the population is officially poor and depends on seasonal labour. Gambaga was once the centre of Islam in the region and, since the rescue of a woman accused of witchcraft by the Imam, its mosque has become a haven for witches, but also a place to which women accused of this practice could be banished by their families. Around the mosque a camp of mud huts grew up. Those most likely to have been accused of witchcraft were late middle-aged widows who had returned to their fathers' compounds, successful businesswomen, those without children to provide them with leverage within the extended family, and those without an adult male brother to protect their interests; in other words, women who have challenged and transgressed the gender regimes in the patrilineal, patrilocal, polygynous communities in the area. In this sort of society women who challenge the mould are likely to be envied and slandered; women without children are somehow felt to have betrayed their sexuality (and are not above exploiting beliefs to have themselves relieved of some household responsibilities); women without husbands (widows) are also seen to be competing for limited resources. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]