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Title:Curing ritual of the Tongwe traditional doctor: its process and logic
Author:Kakeya, M.ISNI
Book title:A comparative study of ecological anthropology in tropical Africa
Editors:Itani, Junichiro
Ichikawa, Mitsuo
Geographic term:Tanzania
healing rites
Abstract:This study attempts to analyse the logic and process of the curing ritual conducted by the traditional doctor of the Tongwe, a people of West Tanzania. In may 1972, the author underwent formal rites to join the ranks of the mfumo, the traditional doctors. On the basis of this experience, the present article analysis actual examples obtained during a new survey in 1980. Sustained by the divine protection and assistence of the ancestral ghosts and myriad spirits, the curing ritual of the mfumo ordinarily centres upon the tangible incarnation of the wills of the mysterious beings, the source and cause of disease, and their control. Among the various aspects of the curing ritual, particular attention is given to the role vegetable medicine plays in traditional medicine. The Tongwe combine a plant's special characteristics, its habitat, morphology, colour, smell, or toxicity, with the nature of the disease to be cured, linking the two through the names of the plants. Fig., map, notes, photogr., ref., tab.