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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:How spirits travel along the western Indian Ocean rims: the example of the Sakalava 'tromba' from north-western Madagascar (nineteenth-twentieth centuries)
Author:Ballarin, Marie-PierreISNI
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Notes:biblio. refs., maps
Geographic terms:Madagascar
Indian Ocean islands
Subjects:culture contact
ancestor worship
Sakalava polity
History, Archaeology
spirit possession
Sakalava (Malagasy people)--Social life and customs
Sakalava (Malagasy people)--Religion
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672700709480450
Abstract:Focusing on royal ancestor cults and spirit possession in northwestern Madagascar and their spread to the East African coast, this paper examines the relationship and related influences between different societies of the western Indian Ocean in the past. Zanzibar is a meeting place for spirits of various origins, as they follow the movements of humans. Within this landscape inhabited by multiple spirits, the 'masheitani ya kibuki' are spirits - deceased monarchs - from the Sakalava kingdom of Madagascar. How did these spirits come to Zanzibar? How can they be related to their original place in northwestern Madagascar during the past? And what is their significance today in modern Zanzibar? This paper first provides information on the Sakalava kingdoms, particularly the Boina. Further, it examines elements of royal symbolism and how these were integrated in the lives of the Sakalava people, and discusses how the associated spirits stemming from the symbolism of the Sakalava kingdoms spread to the Comoros, then to Zanzibar, where they are known as the 'masheitani ya kibuki'. Through a description of part of the ritual, and the identification of 'King's spirits', which are invoked during the performance, the paper analyses what remains today of the original cult and how it has been transformed by its travels and its incorporation into new communities and environments. Bibliogr., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]