Witchcraft and a Life in the New South Africa reconstructs the biography of an ordinary South African, Jimmy Mohale. Born in 1964, Jimmy came of age in rural South Africa during apartheid, then studied at university and worked as a teacher during the anti-apartheid struggle. In 2005, Jimmy died from an undiagnosed sickness, probably related to AIDS. Jimmy gradually came to see the unanticipated misfortune he experienced as a result of his father's witchcraft and sought remedies from diviners rather than from biomedical doctors. This study casts new light on scholarly understandings of the connections between South African politics, witchcraft, and the AIDS pandemic.
About the Author
Isak Niehaus is currently Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Brunel University. He is the author of Witchcraft, Power and Politics: Exploring the Occult in the South African Lowveld (2001) and Magic! AIDS Review 2009 with Fraser G. McNeill. He is a member of the council of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Niehaus has done extensive fieldwork in South African rural areas.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Early experiences, initial suspicions; 3. Becoming a man; 4. 'Then I did not believe'; 5. 'My second initiation'; 6. 'I see things differently now'; 7. Seeking revenge; 8. AIDS and Oedipus; 9. Reconstructing an ideal life; 10. Last words.