Download African Indigenous Religions and Disease Causation by Westerlund, D. PDF

By Westerlund, D.

This comparative and old paintings presents wealthy fabric on faith and sickness etiologies between 5 African peoples (San, Maasai, Sukuma, Kongo and Yoruba) and discusses attainable purposes for an immense shift from non secular beings resembling deities to residing people like witches as brokers of disorder.

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Rather, God’s nature is depicted as more or less ambivalent. In this book, the word ‘ambivalent’ is normally used to refer to the morally mixed nature of deities and spirits, designating them as both constructive and destructive, both good and evil, or, in other words, as spiritual beings in non-dualistic religions. 28 Among Nharo, however, this feature seems to be less pronounced. 32 Transcendental attributes such as ‘omniscience’, ‘omnipotence’ and ‘omnipresence’ appear primarily in late sources,33 which may indicate some changes over time.

One much discussed example, outside the scope of this study, is the name Kaggen of the Xam in South Africa. This is also the name of the mantis, an insect that feeds on other insects and clasps its prey in forelimbs held up as if in prayer; and some early scholars drew the erroneous conclusion that San identified God with this insect. ; Lewis-Williams 1981: 119. Schmidt (1973) is a more specialized study of this issue. Although the discussions have concerned the Cape San, in particular, that is not the only group with a name for God that is also the name for mantis.

The ‘capitalist’ rulers of post-colonial Kenya as well as the ‘socialist’ establishment of Tanzania have made strong attempts to initiate significant changes in the lives of the Maasai, but in both cases with meagre results. The reluctance to abandon the ‘traditional’ way of life is seen in the religious sphere too. Despite protracted 24 Voshaar 1979: 62. For a detailed account of female circumcision, see Sicard 1999: chapter 6. 26 The Arusha language or dialect is quite similar to other Maa dialects, even though the pronunciation, in particular, has been influenced by Bantu languages (Hohenberger 1958: 16).

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