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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Independent Spirits: The Politics of Policing Anti-Witchcraft Movements in Colonial Ghana, 1908-1927
Author:Gray, Natasha
Year:2005
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Volume:35
Issue:2
Pages:139-158
Language:English
Geographic terms:Ghana
Great Britain
Subjects:colonialism
witchcraft
witch-hunting
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1581533.pdf
Abstract:Scholars have debated the social origins of anti-witchcraft movements within African religions while largely ignoring the effects of colonial laws outlawing their practice. Yet, for the initiates, the period after a witch-finding movement was outlawed was the most difficult. Initiates believed banned gods retained their power to punish them severely if they did not atone for violations of movement rules. Performing ceremonies of repentance, however, meant breaking the law, risking heavy fines, home demolition and even imprisonment. This paper examines how the people of the village of Fankyeneko in southern Ghana responded to this unhappy challenge when the 'Aberewa' anti-witchcraft movement was banned in the first decade of the 20th century. The transcript of a 1913 trial of five men accused of conducting ceremonies of the outlawed movement allows for an exploration of this predicament. The tenacity of popular belief in outlawed gods influenced colonial policy towards anti-witchcraft movements, witchcraft law, and the development of contemporary Ghanaian Christianity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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