Medical Aspects Of Witchcraft Practice Among The Shona People Of Rhodesia
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The implications of witchcraft beliefs on medical practice are widespread among the Shona-speaking people — indeed, as they are tin any other part of Central Africa. Once a people accept a belief in the reality of witchcraft, any severe tragedy or personal loss is liable to be attributed to witchcraft, particularly by a rival or jealous acquaintance; and since both sickness and deaths are very frequent and occur as a rule so early in life, these, two disappointments frequently trigger off an accusation. For instance, tin 35 cases of witchcraft accusations alleged to have been made between 1899 and 1930 there were 24 oases (seven sickness and 17 deaths), and in a later series of oases (1959- 1963) 67 eases (21 sickness and 46 deaths) were concerned with these two precipitating or exacting factors. Further, since the infant and Child mortality is so very high in Africa and as a child is so much the centre of love and attraction in a family, the mother is exceptionally careful to avoid the child being touched by a stranger or for it to come near a menstruating woman who in this state tends to be highly dangerous.