Accepted paper:

What is the source of power?: A Case of the Evangelized Witch in Eastern Uganda

Author:

Kiyoshi Umeya (Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University)

Paper short abstract:

In order to depict the diversity of witchcraft in postcolonial Uganda, this paper grapples with the case of a Japadhola born in 1932 in the Uganda Protectorate who grew up as a second generation Christian,subjectively embraced Christianity, and was surrounded by rumours of witchcraft.

Paper long abstract:

This paper seeks to depict the diversity of witchcraft in postcolonial Uganda, grappling with the case of a Japadhola born in 1932 in the Uganda Protectorate. Although this man, named A.C.K., grew up as a second generation Christian and subjectively embraced Christianity, he was surrounded by rumours of witchcraft. He achieved eminence with the guidance of a witch who possessed the mystical power of a soothsayer (jathieth); he was cursed by the dead (tipo) and by the people (lam) who groaned under his tyrannical rule. After the early death of his father, A.C.K. began to work as an assistant in a cooperative union; he was eventually promoted to the position of state minister. He seems to have attributed these successes to the divine guidance of the church, but the local people saw them as products of witchcraft. The huge tombstone of his father, which was a historic structure in the area, was, for example, regarded as a symbol of sorcery or witchcraft. Since people did not share the custom of building large tombstones and memorial chapels for someone who was not a Christian saint, it appears that these constructions were not the products of religious faith but of the obsession with ancestors and the traditional cosmology to protect his family against witchcraft practiced by others. Therefore, the intricate situation of postcolonial Africa forces us to assume that the exemplar of objects of Christianity, such as tombstones with crosses, chapels, and even churches, may be appropriable for the fetish of witchcraft.

panel G20
Trust in super-diversity