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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Impact of Rumor: The Case of the Banyama (Vampire Men) Scare in Northern Rhodesia, 1930-1964
Author:Musambachime, Mwelwa C.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:secret societies
leopard men
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/219933
Abstract:This paper looks at the impact of a rumour relating to Banyama (vampire men) which spread through Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) between 1930 and 1964. The rumour started at a time when the effects of the worldwide economic depression began to be felt. By the end of 1931, it was reported to be common in all districts in Northern, Luapula, and Western Provinces, and along the railway line. Since that time, the scare flourished particularly in times of crisis and during the rainy season when, with the absence of a large number of men from the villages and with tall grass covering the ground, the women left behind felt most insecure. Hence all strangers were suspected of being Banyama. Political insecurity in the urban areas also led to the association of Banyama with political opponents, especially between 1948 and 1953, when African opposition to the formation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland intensified. With the growth of African policial consciousness and the struggle for independence in the late 1950s the Banyama scare began to die out. Notes, ref.