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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: 28 September 2021

Core Features in Ngoma Therapy

Core Features in Ngoma Therapy

(p.85) 3 Core Features in Ngoma Therapy

John M. Janzen

University of California Press

This chapter describes the main characteristics in ngoma therapy. These features include sickness and therapeutic initiation as a phased rite of passage; identifying the causes of misfortune; associating nosology with “spirit fields”; the “course through the white,” of sickness and transition; a sacrifice that sets in motion a circuit of exchanges; and the power of the wounded healer, together with fellow sufferers, that is, transforming sufferer into healer. It is evident that “spirit fields” provide a set of parameters having to do with worldview, order and chaos, legitimacy, and cultural categories against which to align, and begin to deal with, personal problems. The social dimension of “the white” may vary in its particulars from occurring within lineage and family to removal from it. Generally, the core features of ngoma reveal significant characteristics with which to understand how ngoma-type affliction and healing is organized.

Keywords:   ngoma therapy, misfortune, spirit fields, nosology, sickness, sacrifice, sufferer, healer

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