This study has arisen out of a fascination with the vibrant nature of African societies, their vitality, and particularly the way in which they seem to be able time and again to overcome tribulation and turmoil.
In the southern African region, ngoma, an indigenous ritual of healing, dance, rhythm, and rhyme, is at the heart of the social effort of turning the tables for individuals and communities so that their well-being is restored.
This volume investigates ngoma in its many culturally diverse manifestations. It seeks to explore how these manifestations are perceived, how they function in relation to the needs of individuals and communities, and how they maintain their key functions in the face of modern developments and institutions.
The contributions included here transmit an appreciation of the social capability of African societies to turn misfortune, affliction, and repression into a valued experience of growth and fulfillment.
Rijk van Dijk is at the African Studies Centre, University of Leiden. More info →
Ria Reis teaches Medical Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. More info →
Maja Spierenburg is at UNESCO, Dakar. More info →
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William Blake’s reputation as a staunch individualist is based in large measure on his repeated attacks on institutions and belief systems that constrain the individual’s imagination. Blake, however, rarely represents isolation positively, suggesting that the individual’s absolute freedom from communal pressures is not the ideal.
Consequent upon the Berlin West Africa Conference (1884–1885), the Africanische Gesellschaft in Deutschland launched the Niger-Benue expedition to investigate possible riverine communications throughout the Niger-Benue river system. Responsibility for the expedition ultimately fell to Paul Staudinger, a young entomologist with no experience of inner Africa.
Healing Traditions offers a historical perspective to the interactions between South Africa’s traditional healers and biomedical practitioners. It provides an understanding that is vital for the development of medical strategies to effectively deal with South Africa’s healthcare challenges.
The helmet-shaped mapiko masks of Mozambique have garnered admiration from African art scholars and collectors alike, due to their striking aesthetics and their grotesque allure. This book restores to mapiko its historic and artistic context, charting in detail the transformations of this masquerading tradition throughout the twentieth century.