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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:There Are Many Kongo Worlds: Particularities of Magico-Religious Beliefs among the Vili and Yombe of Congo-Brazzaville
Author:Hersak, Dunja
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Congo (Republic of)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:This article analyses the distinctiveness of magico-religious practices in the northwestern sector of the Kongo cultural complex, namely among the peoples who refer to themselves as Vili and Yombe (Congo-Brazzaville). On the basis of fieldwork carried out during various periods between 1990 and 1999, and a critical examination of the sources, the article points out that such widely distributed terms of proto-Bantu origin as 'nkisi' cannot be covered by a single or even a multistranded definition; the variants, ranging from spirit to object, express local and time-specific beliefs. An approach that seeks a single Kongo universe is an ethnographic, historical and linguistic misreading that obscures existing regional concepts while possibly overlooking the importance of other notions. The article focuses on sorting out the basic ethnographic data relating to the beliefs current in the region and reveals not only long-standing aspects, some of them common to the wider Kongo world, but also those that have developed more recently in this particular coastal zone where different peoples trade and interact. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.