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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The use of religion and science in the control of witchcraft among the Abagusii of western Kenya
Author:Masese, Eric R.ISNI
Periodical:Mila: a Journal of the Institute of African Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Abstract:Witchcraft belief and practice ('oborogi') is a pervasive aspect of Gusii society in western Kenya. This article examines the Gusii conception of witchcraft, witchcraft as a social problem, and witchcraft control strategies. Abagusii believe that some people are witches and cause injuries by virtue of inherent qualities. Unlike the Azande, who perceive witchcraft as a purely psychic act, the Abagusii in addition conceive of it as involving the performance of rites, casting spells and the possession of medicine or magic. Any person who can cause misfortune or harm to another person either by magic or pyschic acts is seen to be practising witchcraft. Witchcraft is seen as an antisocial act that defies collective conscience. The Abagusii used to employ two strategies for controlling witches, which corresponded to the two elements in witchcraft - human and non-human witchcraft. Integrating knowledge of religion and science, Gusii witchcraft control strategies were very effective. However, with the introduction of colonialism and Christianity, these strategies have been sidelined, which has resulted in an increase in witchcraft accusations. Bibliogr., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]