• Witchcraft and the Gift: Killing and Healing in Northwest Zambia

    Author(s):
    Sonia Silva (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Indigenous Studies, Religious Studies
    Subject(s):
    Africa, Anthropology, Cultural anthropology, Violence, Witchcraft
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    gift giving, trust
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6FC67
    Abstract:
    This chapter on witchcraft in northwest Zambia shows that forms of asking and giving may be deployed to suspend suspicion about the motives of others, even as they possess the potential to kill. When a woman asks a witch for a gift of salt to flavor her food, the witch feigns generosity but forces that woman to join the coven in recompense. In becoming a witch, that woman kills one of her relatives, whose flesh is consumed by the cowitch. The cowitch, in turn, becomes indebted to her and must provide more human flesh. This cycle of death may be broken when a healer offers a gift of sacrificial blood to the accused witch in exchange for the victim’s life. Drawing on David Graeber’s concept of human economies as well as Peter Geschiere’s treatment of intimacy and trust in witchcraft discourse, this chapter shows that requests and gifts may constitute leaps of faith that are dangerous but also necessary to undertake.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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