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Wild ReligionTracking the Sacred in South Africa$
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David Chidester

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273078

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273078.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2019

Purity

Purity

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter Seven Purity
Source:
Wild Religion
Author(s):

David Chidester

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520273078.003.0007

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

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