Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Wild ReligionTracking the Sacred in South Africa$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Chidester

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273078

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273078.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. 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 May 2020



(p.132) Chapter Seven Purity
Wild Religion

David Chidester

University of California Press

This chapter describes Zulu ritual purity. This tradition invokes a rite that applies “white” medicines to purify oneself (ukuphothula) from the effects of “black” medicines, associated with witchcraft. On that note, achieving extraordinary purity, such as that of a novice diviner, requires staying cool by avoiding the heat of sexuality. Anthropologist Axel Ivar Berglund documented that, during their training, novice diviners do not only abstain from sex but also avoid any contact with people who might be sexually active. They maintain their purity by starting their own fires in preparation of their own food. The fire and the food, in this practice, must be cooled untouched by anyone (i.e pregnant women) carrying the heat of sexual activity.

Keywords:   Zulu, ritual purity, ukuphothula, white medicines, black medicines, Axel Ivar Berglund, novice diviner

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.