Witchcraft And Sorcery In East Africa Pdf
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Motive Rather than Means.
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- Witchcraft, Sorcery, Academic and Local Change in East Africa
- Witchcraft, Sorcery, Academic and Local Change in East Africa
- Pentecostalism and Witchcraft
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Motive Rather than Means. This article traces the legal genealogies of witchcraft claims and counter-claims within the legal arena of colonial Kenya. The defendant, in turn, is on trial not for a murder committed through witchcraft but rather for a murder motivated by the witchcraft turned against him or her by the decedent. Attending briefly to the broader politics of knowledge production in the empire, it addresses how witchcraft emerged as a central colonial concern.
Finally, it points to significant continuities in colonial and post-colonial witch-killings and anti-witchcraft legislation in Kenya. Amin Witchcraft emerged as a locus of official disquiet via the systemized and professionalized production of anthro-administrative knowledge throughout the colonial era 3. A primary goal of the archived and archiving colonial state was to render subject peoples more easily governable by making their unfamiliar cultures, customs, and institutions known quantities.
Administrators produced articles and monographs based on anthro-administrative data and these texts generally evidenced a deep interest with important aspects of local cosmologies—in particular, witchcraft beliefs and practices 5.
Colonial Office authorities archived anthro-administrative knowledge in a complex classification system that enabled it to be accessed and re circulated by officials throughout the empire. Further, anthro-administrative knowledge also passed through tertiary circuits such as the academy, organs of civil society, and the press. It described states of supernatural insecurity in the colonies and patterns of local mentalities, and it analyzed how these factors impeded administration.
First, it was the initial avenue through which witchcraft entered the courts and became an object of official juridical concern. These bodies, and the circumstances surrounding them, brought into high relief how the colonial monopoly on the exercise of spectacular violence was something on an imperial fantasy. Knowledge about witchcraft generated by administrators on-the-ground contributed strongly to ways in which the courts were able to consider witchcraft, both as a crime in and of itself, and in relation to murder.
Yet, for all of their discursive wrangling, these ordinances actually failed to offer any clear definitions of witchcraft per se. The following section traces the genealogy of the Witchcraft Ordinances in Kenya, highlighting how colonial legal languages aimed to re formulate witchcraft according to colonial prerogatives.
In the same meeting, the Crown Advocate successfully moved for the insertion of language protecting African functionaries from prosecution under the ordinance. The new language read,. Of course, the ordinance also forbid headmen to in any way allow witchcraft or any act that could be considered to counter the provisions of the Witchcraft Ordinance. First was to expand the involvement of functionaries like chiefs and headmen in combating witchcraft-related crimes by assigning them new roles like hearing witchcraft accusations and reporting witchcraft activities in their locations while at the same time criminalizing a willful or indifferent neglect to do so The additional language also placed more emphasis on the criminality of witchcraft accusations, effectively rendering the activities of diviners as crimes and again blurring the divide between witchcraft for harm and witchcraft for healing.
The inability of the alleged victims of witchcraft to effectively seek recourse under the Witchcraft Ordinances often precipitated the sorts of witch-killing cases analyzed below. These cases contributed to the refinement of the legal meanings of witchcraft and to the elaboration of legal concepts central to the prosecution of capital crimes Unsurprisingly, the courts rejected this defense on the grounds that under colonial law, the kiama no longer had the authority to exercise customary forms of justice In Rex versus Kimonirr and Five Others , the principal appellant had accused the deceased, Chesang, of killing her husband and son by sorcery.
Chesang, as local custom was alleged to dictate, hanged himself on the instructions of his family. More generally, the case redirected the focus of legal reckoning in witch-killing cases from custom to commutation. The accused alleged that she had removed half the spell during the night.
Early in the morning, the witch was detected running away. All accused ran after her and beat her with the thin sticks referred to above. As a result of the beating the witch was killed The justices of the Supreme Court of Kenya were, however, unconvinced and handed down death sentences on the 70 accused. Authoring the decision, Griffin elaborated on the points addressed above.
The Penal Code, Griffin explained, explains malice aforethought as follows:. On the trial of the son for murder: — Held: that if the accused had reasonable grounds for believing and honestly believed that his act was necessary for the defense of his mother, the homicide was excusable. In the concluding the decision, Griffin argued,. The plea has been frequently put forward in murder cases that the deceased had bewitched or threatened to bewitch the accused, and that plea has been consistently rejected except in cases where the accused has been put in such fear of immediate danger to his own life that the defense of grave and sudden provocation has been held proved.
Also, according to the opinion, assaults on or killings of witches could not be considered acts of self-defense. Finally, the opinion took a strong position against vigilante justice. These positions became key reference points in subsequent cases of witch-killing discussed below. This section briefly summarizes the witchcraft-related murder cases heard in the East Africa Court of Appeal and recorded in its available digests from the late s to the early s Overall, the digest cases ultimately turn on the same question: When, if ever, is the witchcraft of the deceased sufficient to commute a capital sentence?
The appellant then decided to kill the deceased and did so a few hours later The passage reads as follows:. The opinion explained,. The decision explained,. The justice explained the principle generally and in regard to the circumstances of Fabiano. He wrote,. We think that if the facts proved establish that the victim was performing in the actual presence of the accused some act which the accused did genuinely believe, and which an ordinary person of the community to which the accused belongs would genuinely believe, to be an act of witchcraft against him or another person under his immediate care which would be a criminal offence under the Criminal Law witchcraft Ordinance of Uganda and similar legislation in other East African territories , he might be angered to such an extent as to be deprived of the power of self-control and induced to assault the person doing the act of witchcraft.
And if this be the case a defense of grave and sudden provocation is open to him. It must always be a question of fact as to whether he is in all the circumstances of the particular case acting in the great of passion caused by grave and sudden provocation and of course on such an issue he must be given the benefit of any reasonable doubt.
In the case, Rex versus Nzau wa Mukwata, the defendant argued that he had killed the deceased, his mother-in-law and a reputed witch, because he believed she had bewitched his children to death, and when confronted, the deceased threatened the defendant with death by witchcraft Finally, in the case, Eria Galikuwa versus Rex , the appellant claimed that he had been threatened with death by the deceased, a witchdoctor, unless he paid the deceased 1, sh.
It explained,. But an attention to witchcraft enabled the courts to distinguish killings in retribution for witchcraft from killings for more mundane reasons. An historical analysis of such cases has contemporary relevance and resonances because documentary and ethnographic evidence suggests crimes related to witchcraft are not simply a colonial, but also a current problem as well Accused met K.
Villagers forcibly removed them from their house, blindfolded them and tied them to a tree before stoning them to death [. They vowed not to repeat the act, but angry villagers could hear none of it [. But despite being separated by 60 years, the circumstances of the cases are remarkably similar. The cases also brought to the fore the question of the extent to which intent was a necessary constituent of witchcraft.
Cases of witch murder show that crimes related to witchcraft regularly entered colonial records and became objects of official analyses through avenues other than simple contraventions of the Witchcraft Ordinances Amin A shforth , A. C iekawy , D. C ooper , F. G eschiere , P. S anders eds. H obley , C. L uongo , K. M amdani , M. O tieno , E. P andey , G. C haturvedi ed. S toler , A. W aller , R.
Department of History, Northeastern University, Boston. Sommaire - Document suivant. Justice coloniale et nouveaux cultes anti-sorcellerie. Plan Colonial Records, Colonial Concerns.
Colonial and Post-colonial Continuities. Bibliographie A min , S. Harry W est also offers a subtle study of the state of supernatural power in Mozambique, see also, interviews conducted by the author in Machakos District, Kenya, in For example, R. Kilungu, September, ; B. Pipeline, August Mahmood M amdani On witchcraft, see, for example, the excellent work of Peter G eschiere , and Adam A shforth Anthropological Research.
Demand-Supply of Anthro, H obley , one of the most prolific anthro-administrators, had published an anthropological monograph which focused strongly on Kamba cosmology and which was derived in part from his administrative writings. District Commissioner, Machakos. Machakos District Annual Report, Kitui District Annual Report, Indeed, this view was consistent through out the colonial era.
Meetings held 1 st March , 18 th May , and 5 th July Ulu Quarterly Report, The Witchcraft Ordinance of and the Witchcraft Ordinance revised of , the law contra witchcraft currently on the books, are in language and substance practically identical. I am grateful to Richard Waller for sharing his notes on this file with me as it is now missing from the KNA collection.
Witchcraft, Sorcery, Academic and Local Change in East Africa
The same dichotomy between sorcery and witchcraft exists sometimes more ambiguously in the beliefs of many peoples throughout the world. Again, witches are typically seen as particularly active after dusk, when law-abiding mortals are asleep. According to traditional Navajo belief, when a witch travels at night, he wears the skin of a dead animal in order to effect a transformation into that animal. In some African cultures witches are believed to assemble in cannibal covens , often at graveyards or around a fire, to feast on the blood that they, like vampires, extract from their victims. Like those in Western society suspected of child abuse and Satanism , African witches in the popular imagination are believed to practice incest and other perversions. It can be activated merely by wishing someone ill and is thus a kind of unspoken, or implicit , curse.
Containing ten essays by anthropologists on the beliefs and practices associated with witches and sorcerers in Eastern Africa, the chapters in.
Witchcraft, Sorcery, Academic and Local Change in East Africa
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Pentecostalism and Witchcraft
As a set of beliefs that varies region by region and has a good many consequences in everyday life, African witchcraft is in many respects similar to corresponding sets of beliefs found among peoples of other continents. African systems, however, are of great interest because they have some unique features and because they have provided material for the formulation of definitions and the development of theories of worldwide application. Most African societies — though not all — hold the cardinal belief that certain members of the community are in the habit of using supernatural means for illicitly destroying the interests, or even the lives, of their fellows. This basic tenet has led Africans to attribute to persons designated by terms we might translate as "witches" or "sorcerers" characteristics that resemble those of their counterparts elsewhere. Beliefs about witches are, of course, not directly observable, but they may have overt consequences in everyday life.
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Spiritual Warfare in Africa and Melanesia
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