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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The herder and the rustler: deciphering the affinity between Zulu diviner and Zionist prophet
Author:Kiernan, J.P.ISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189208707758
Abstract:Are the Zulu diviner and the Zionist prophet birds of a feather or are they as different as chalk and cheese? Since B.G.M. Sundkler (1961) first examined and pronounced on this question, there has been a noticeable tendency on the part of modern scholars to stress a remarkable congruity between prophet and diviner. It is argued that the prophet is the mirror image of the diviner ('isangoma'). The present author wants to reopen this question, because Zionists themselves have consistently denied that they have anything in common with diviners. Arguing that the question may have been too narrowly expressed in purely religious parameters, the author casts it in a fuller context, both to appreciate its broader implications and to seek a more informed answer. He draws mainly on his own first-hand experience of Zionism, which is confined to a limited number of self-consciously Christian groups in the urban environment of KwaMashu (KwaZulu, South Africa). He concludes that although it cannot be denied that there are obvious similarities in the conduct of diviners and Zionist prophets, a significant divergence appears when the social context is taken into account: like a herder, the diviner is committed to maintaining the status quo of a social system, while the Zionist prophet, like a benign rustler, draws into an alternative novel dispensation the discontented or abandoned of a social system that no longer caters adequately for their needs. Bibliogr.