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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Transacting Obasinjom: The Dissemination of a Cult Agency in the Cross River Area
Author:Röschenthaler, UteISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:During the twentieth century, Obasinjom became one of the best known and most effective cult agencies in the Cross River area of Cameroon and Nigeria. This paper aims at reconstructing the history of Obasinjom and some of its variants. Unlike many other witch-hunting cults, Obasinjom usually did not disappear after accomplishing the immediate job for which it was acquired. The owners additionally desired to possess the institution because it created wealth, influence and prestige for them as well as their village as a whole. Obasinjom and other cult agencies (as well as women's and men's societies and dance associations) spread from village to village across ethnic or language boundaries. Along with their dissemination, something of their identities and agency diffused and was incorporated into their histories over time and space. As intellectual property they were owned by the buying village and at the same time remained the property of the selling village. Obasinjom, as well as more important institutions, created decentralized networks of owners who had no definite knowledge of all the other participants. The recently formed pan-Obasinjom association, however, has changed this situation and, at least among some owners, created a feeling of identity and a greater sense of unity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]