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NgomaDiscourses of Healing in Central and Southern Africa$
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John Janzen

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520072657

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520072657.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Identifying Ngoma

Identifying Ngoma

Historical and Comparative Perspectives

(p.57) 2 Identifying Ngoma

John M. Janzen

University of California Press

This chapter raises the possibility that ngoma is indeed a classical manifestation of Central and Southern African ritual. It specifically considers evidence about the constellation of musical instruments utilized in the rituals of therapy, in an attempt to clarify the relationship of the instrument type named ngoma to other aspects of the ritual and the wider institution. It then addresses the social and cultural variables that have shaped the institution, and how, as a distinctive institution, it has been represented, or misrepresented, in social research. The musical instruments that accompany ngoma and other healing rites offer intriguing clues from a nonverbal domain. The identity of ngoma as an institution and as a behavioral process, often with name recognition, should satisfy scholarship.

Keywords:   ngoma, Central African ritual, Southern African ritual, musical instruments, therapy, institution, healing rites

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