62 Schrempp, G. (1992). Magical Arrows. The Maori, the Greeks, and the Folklore of the Universe. London, The University of Wisconsin Press. Stasch, R. (2009). Society of Others. Kinship and Mourning in a West Papuan Place. Berkeley, University of California Press. Stewart, P. and A. Strathern, (Eds.) (2004). Witchcraft, sorcery, rumors, and gossip. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. West, H. G. (2001). “Sorcery of construction and socialist modernization: ways of understanding power in postcolonial Mozambique.” American Ethnologist 28(1): 119-150. West, H. G. (2005). Kupilikula. Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press. NOTES 1 In the following, when I speak about ’otherness’, it should be understood not merely as someone who is spatially exterior but as someone considered as strange; a stranger. As argued by Stasch, social otherness exists ’when a person experiences as different and strange not just any object, but an acting being. The other being is thought to have some kind of consciousness of itselff and surrounding events. The other being’s consciousness is part of that being’s otherness, part of what is different, separate, and strange about him or her. ”Social otherness” foregrounds a crucial element of routine human intersubjectivity: the forms of separateness and strangeness that lie between persons who are conscious of each other’s consciousness’ (2009:15-16). 2 Changana is the Bantu language that is most widely spoken in the southern part of Mozambique. 3 Significantly, among the Changanaspeaking people of southern Mozambique, ancestor spirits are referred to in the plural as svikwembu, whereas the Christian God is described using the same term but in singular, i.e. xìkwembu. 4 This close association also indicates that if a family moves from one place to another, the ancestor spirits willingly go with them, provided that an appropriate commemorative ceremony is held at which living relatives inform their ancestors of the impending relocation. 5 We might consequently follow Jean and John Comaroff, who argue that in such ’occult economies’, a conjuring up of wealth is possible through the use of ’mysterious techniques’ unknown to ordinary people (1999:283). 6 From 1977 and until the signing of the Peace Accord in Rome in 1992, a devastating civil war raged between the ruling Frelimo party and Renamo, a guerilla movement supported first by Rhodesia and later by South Africa. 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The Sacred and the City: Modernity, Religion, and the Urban Form in Central Africa in: J. Boddy and M. Lambek, (Eds.): A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion. John Wiley & Sons: pp. 528-548. Ellis, S. and G. t. Haar (2004). Worlds of Power: Religious thought and political practice in Africa. London, C. Hurst and Company. Ellis, S. and G. t. Haar (2008). “Africa’s Religious Resurgence and the Politics of Good and Evil.” Current History 107(708): 180-185. Fortes, M., (Ed.) (1987). Religion, morality and the person. Essays on Tallensi religion. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Geschiere, P. (1997). The Modernity of Witchcraft. Politics and the occult in Postcolonial Africa. Charlottesville, University of Virginia Press. Geschiere, P. and F. B. Nyamnjoh (1998). “Witchcraft as an Issue in the “Politics of Belonging”: Democratization and Urban Migrants’ Involvement with the Home Village.” African Studies Review 41(3): 69-91. Honwana, A. (1997). “Healing for Peace: Traditional Healers and Post-War Reconstruction in Southern Mozambique.” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 3(3): 293-305. Junod, H. A. (1962a). The Life of a South African Tribe. Volume I: Social Life. New Hyde Park, University Books Inc. ---. (1962b). The Life of a South African Tribe. Volume II: Mental Life. New Hyde Park, University Books Inc. Moore, H. L. and T. Sanders, (Eds.) (2001). Magical Interpretations, Material Realities. Modernity, Witchcraft and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa. London, Routledge. Niehaus, I. (2002). “Bodies, Heat, And Taboos: Conceptualizing Modern Personhood In The South African Lowveld.” Ethnology 41(3): 189-207. ---. (2005). “Witches and zombies of the south african lowveld: discourse, accusations and subjective reality.” Journal of the Royal Anthroplogical Institute 11(2): 191-210. Nielsen, M. (2012). “Interior Swelling. On the Expansive Effects of Ancestral Interventions in Maputo, Mozambique “ Common Knowledge 18(3): 433-450. Peek, P. M. (1991). Introduction. The Study of Divination, Present and Past in: P. M. Peek, (Ed.): African Divination Systems: Ways of Knowing. Bloomington, Indiana University Press: pp. 1-22. Potter, V. G., (Ed.) (1993). Readings in Epistemology from Aquinas, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant. New York, Fordham University Press. the surface of the visible world. Confronted by a multitude of uncertainties that threaten the stability of one’s existence, it does seem as if the physical world has been overtaken by invisible and inherently dangerous forces (De Boeck 2013). Only a few weeks after the kubiamúnti ceremony, Andréa was beginning to doubt the efficacy of the sorcerer’s actions. For more than a year, Andréa had made a small but growing profit from selling vegetables at the local market and one of her neighbours had become quite envious of Andréa’s success. Hence, as Andréa reasoned, it might be that the neighbour had orchestrated a witchcraft attack on her with the objective of ruining her business. The challenge for many Africans is consequently how to orient themselves in a world that has become ever more murky and fragmented. What are the remedies for engaging with a social environment that is structured by the collapse of viable distinctions between the visible and the invisible realms of reality? Perhaps the recent upsurge in the spread of religious movements across the continent should be read as a possible response to this widely felt state of acute insecurity. In Ghana, for example, Pentecostalism has become increasingly popular and not least because it takes seriously people’s fears and concerns about living in an increasingly volatile and ambiguous social environment by offering to reveal the occult forces that operate underneath the surface of the visible world. Considered as such, modern Christianity has not displaced ideas about the importance of ancestral spirits. Rather, it has ‘provided a new context in which they make perfect sense’ (Moore and Sanders 2001:16). Invisible worlds exist everywhere. While conjuring paradoxes that are both perplexing and even unfathomable, they also generate imaginaries, connections and opportunities that would not otherwise be considered. What is particularly unique about certain sub-Saharan African cosmologies is the capacity for making spaces; that is, for creating physical, social and spiritual room to accommodate the coexistence of contrasting and often opposing forces in the world. One’s social existence is never a given and spaces therefore have to be made where the opportunities and benefits of social relationships can be harnessed without having to endure harmful attacks from those significant others without whom social life would be impossible.
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