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Title:Interpreting Luguru religious practice through colonialist eyes: child sacrifice and East African dance in Brett Young's 'The crescent moon'
Author:Hale, FrederickISNI
Periodical:Journal for the Study of Religion (ISSN 1011-7601)
Geographic term:Tanzania
African religions
sacrificial rites
About person:Francis Brett Young (1884-1954)ISNI
Abstract:Public perceptions of indigenous African religious life have been heavily influenced by its representations in imaginative literature and film, both before and after serious scholarly investigations yielded detailed analyses in little-read professional journals and others academic publications. While serving as a medical officer in German East Africa (present-day Tanzania) during the First World War, the increasingly popular English novelist and poet Francis Brett Young, who would eventually write nine books set in sub-Saharan Africa and die in Cape Town in 1954, described Luguru religious practices in his widely praised non-fictional account 'Marching onTanga' and his first African novel 'The crescent moon'. It is argued in the present article that Brett Young severly misrepresented his subject, not least by ascribing child sacrifice to the Luguru. His presentation or this ostensible dimension of tribal worship as a vestige of transplanted ancient Semitic propitiation rituals is found to be unwarranted. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]