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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Loibon as Sorcerer: A Samburu Loibon among the Ariaal Rendille, 1973-1987
Author:Fratkin, Elliot M.ISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Kenya
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160027
Abstract:Historical studies of the Maasai 'loibonok' (diviners) have emphasized their ritual and political leadership, particularly during the inter-Maasai warfare of the 19th century. This study of a modern Samburu 'loibon' illustrates that the 'loibon''s primary activity in non-crisis periods is the private performance of rituals of divination ('nkidong') and the dispensation of protective medicines ('ntasim') to combat acts of sorcery. Although the 'loibon' will occasionally perform public divinations and protect communities from natural misfortune with 'ntasim', these activities are infrequent and secondary to his main role. Lekati Leaduma practised 'ntasim' and 'nkidong' among the Ariaal Rendille of northern Kenya until his death in 1987, mainly among communities isolated from administrative centres with adequate medical care and police protection. This study analyses the 'nkidong' and 'ntasim' of Leaduma as private curative rituals, and suggests historical and symbolic linkages and differences with other Samburu and Maasai 'loibonok'. It is argued that, although Samburu 'loibonok' aspire to public leadership and moral authority, their association with sorcery and supernatural power isolates them as dangerous outsiders to moral Samburu society. The author lived with Leaduma and his family during his anthropological research among the Ariaal in 1975-1976 and 1985-1986. Bibliogr., notes, sum. also in French.