Anaylzing the Ethnography, Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa written by Adam Ashforth

918 Words4 Pages
The practices of witchcraft have been around for many centuries. It was said that men in early times used the idea of magic to pay respects to the gods that ruled and brought forth an easier life. Magic was used mostly by shamans, medicine people, and witches to call the powers of the gods to help grow crops and bring water. Magic was used more often when times were hard and grew from the craziness of bad weather and little food supplies. These people who performed witchcraft would do rituals and cast spells to help call the upon the gods. Over time the use of witches and witchcraft turned sour and people were seeing less and less of them. “Witches, who were primarily women, were originally seen as wise healers whom could both…show more content…
“Anthropologists have long been aware that the social production and meaning of witchcraft is an evasive issue that defies easy analysis” (Teppo, 2006). Many anthropologists such as Wilson, Gluckman, and Douglas are a few of the most known theories and they all have come to a similar conclusion and explained witchcraft as a “downside of social relations, or a product of social tension, which is constantly able to renew itself within global modernity” (Ashforth, 2000). Ashforth believes this theory as well and continues to base his research on the social aspects of witchcraft and how it affects the people of the community. There are three main points to this ethnography that I believe Ashforth was trying to examine. The first point I believe is researched is the lives of the residents in Soweto, and how their insecurities impact their belief in witchcraft. It seems that many residents use the topic of jealousy as the main source of witchcraft and that it only increased when the inequality among blacks in South Africa increased. The newly democratized society enabled some residents to move up to the middle class, while others remained in poverty stricken areas, this lead to the jealousy issues that increased the presence of witchcraft. The second point is the different aspects and potential causes of insecurities of the residents of Soweto. Establishing the knowledge of spiritual insecurity offered an arguable foundation of witchcraft and why

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