Adam Ashforth Madumo: A Man Bewitched

ISBN 13: 9780226029719

Madumo: A Man Bewitched

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9780226029719: Madumo: A Man Bewitched
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Adam Ashforth, an Australian who has spent many years in Soweto, finds his longtime friend Madumo in dire circumstances: his family has accused him of using witchcraft to kill his mother and has thrown him out on the street. Convinced that his life is cursed, Madumo seeks help among Soweto's bewildering array of healers and prophets. An inyanga, or traditional healer, confirms that he has indeed been bewitched. Ashforth, skeptical yet supportive, remains by Madumo's side as he embarks upon a physically grueling treatment regimen that he follows religiously - almost to the point of death. Asforth's beautifully written account of Madumo's struggle shows that the problem of witchcraft is not simply superstition but a complex response to spiritual insecurity in a troubling time of political and economic upheaval. Through Madumo's story, Ashforth opens up a world that few have seen, a deeply unsettling place where the question, "Do you believe in witchcraft?" is not a simple one at all. The insights that emerge as Ashforth accompanies his friend on an odyssey through Soweto's supernatural perils have profound implications even for those of us who live in worlds without witches.

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Review:

"A fascinating page-turner that recounts one man's battle with an eerie symptom of powerlessness: obsession with witchcraft.... Ashforth enfolds his readers in this distressing story... [and] also offers a persuasive analysis of the broader sociological phenomenon that, he argues, Madumo's tribulations exemplify." - Voice Literary Supplement; "Adam Ashforth has spent much of the past decade immersed in a culture in which witchcraft remains as common as air.... A warm, colorful book, a mix of memoir, journalism, and sociology. He has dual roles, as reporter and friend, and manages to describe Madumo's search for relief with both compassion and professional skepticism." - Mark Schone, Salon"

About the Author:

Adam Ashforth is visiting associate professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study.

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