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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Public opinion on witchcraft seriousness and reporting intentions in the Northern Province, South Africa
Author:Peltzer, KarlISNI
Periodical:Psychopathologie africaine
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:public opinion
criminal law
Abstract:Witchcraft is a priority crime in the Northern Province of South Africa. A study was carried out to identify community perceptions on the Witchcraft Suppression Act (1957, amended by Act 50 of 1970). The sample studied included 200 African/black participants, 100 urban and 100 rural, ranging in age from 21 to 68, from the Pietersburg area. Interviews were carried out on the basis of questionnaire with case vignettes (a mix of different witchcraft situations) that measure reporting intentions. Three cases - bewitched food, the confession to be a witch, and witch 'behaviour' at a funeral - were considered as more serious than two other cases - love potions and illness due to witchcraft. In all cases the majority of the respondents felt that the law would not require to report the case. There was a high agreement across all cases that a report would not be of benefit to the persons involved nor to the community. Generally, respondents felt that they would not report a case themselves. The likelihood to report was positively associated with the seriousness of a case, the labelling of an incident as bewitchment, and the legal requirement to report, and negatively associated with benefit to the persons involved and benefit to the community. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]