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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Supernatural revelation via hallucinogens in initiation, spirit-possession, and jurisprudence: a Southern African problem-solving mechanism
Author:Johnston, Thomas F.
Periodical:Cahiers des religions africaines
Geographic terms:Mozambique
South Africa
spirit possession
African religions
religious rituals
Abstract:During two years (1968-70) spent among the Tsonga of Mozambique and the Northern Transvaal, the author observed twelve significant commonalities in three Tsonga social institutions featuring hallucinogenic druguse. A fourth institution (murhundzu, the boys' circumcision school) was not observed. The three institutions are: 1) Khomba, the Tsonga girls' initiation school 2) Huvo, the Tsonga traditional court of law occasionally featuring trial-by-ordeal (ku nwa mondzo), 3) Mancomane, the organized exorcism rites performed to expel undesirable alien spirits. The author's hypothesis: Tsonga hallucinatory experience is: culturally patterned; a mechanism for reinforcing the power, prestige, and authority of the tribal elders over the rank and file of the rural community. Presented are summarized data, being an eyewitness account of the ritual use of Datura fastuosa (mondzo, or muri wa ku bonisa) within: initiation, exorcism, and jurisprudence. Bibl., figures, photos, summary in French.