Witchcraft and Transnational Social Spaces: Witchcraft Violence, Reconciliation and Development in South Africa's Transition Process

The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 217-245, 2003

Posted: 14 Jul 2006

See all articles by Dirk Kohnert

Dirk Kohnert

GIGA - Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs

Abstract

The strange collusion between occult belief systems and different trans-national social networks, embedded in specific transformations of local and global modes of production, results in unique but reinforcing modifications of witchcraft belief, its underlying structures and its impact on the process of democratisation. The amazing range of possible results has been indicated by the analysis of two outstanding examples of witchcraft violence in South Africa in times of transition: in the former homelands of Venda and Lebowa, seemingly 'traditional' elements of witchcraft accusations, mediated by a misguided struggle for liberation, stimulated the sympathetic attention of stakeholders beyond the local setting. On the other hand, the occult base of violence in the Transkei became so blurred by involvement of 'modern' elements of globalised markets of violence that it was hardly visible any more, although undercover its repressive effects were still very much alive. These different roots of witchcraft violence had serious repercussions on conflict resolution and genuine reconciliation, the base for any sustainable democratisation and development.

Keywords: development, religion, cultural change, witchcraft, democratization, South Africa

JEL Classification: A14, O17, Z10, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Kohnert, Dirk, Witchcraft and Transnational Social Spaces: Witchcraft Violence, Reconciliation and Development in South Africa's Transition Process. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=913733

Dirk Kohnert (Contact Author)

GIGA - Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs ( email )

German Inst. of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
D-20354 Hamburg
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://dirk2011.jimdo.com/

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