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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Knowledge, astrology and the power of healing in Zanzibar
Author:Larsen, KjerstiISNI
Year:2002
Periodical:Journal des africanistes
Volume:72
Issue:2
Pages:175-186
Language:English
Geographic terms:Tanzania
Zanzibar
Subjects:astrology
medicine
Abstract:This paper explores Zanzibari understandings and practices of astrology. In popular milieus in Zanzibar Town, astrology and cosmology are associated with Islamic knowledge and constitute a form of Arabian scholarship that does not necessarily include formal education.Traces of Hindu influence can also be noted, although no explicit reference to it is ever made. Knowledge of sacred and non-human agency is considered to be of great value. The person having such knowledge is ascribed strength ('nguvu') and prestige, as well as the means to make a living, if not to attain economic wealth. Focusing on astrology, the author discusses the complexity implied by this knowledge by exploring how great religious traditions are understood and reinterpreted by local communities, and how collective representations are expressed through people's acts and experiences within their local communities. People use this knowledge to cope with life, to interpret events, to anticipate the future, to act in the world and to position themselves within social relationships; through such actions, their communities are constituted as true institutions of meaning. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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