- What are the similarities of African beliefs and witchcraft?
The similar beliefs between African beliefs and witchcraft are people or ‘neighbors who accumulate great wealth’, ancestors communicating with their living family, and older women with [healing] power or control. It is an African belief that if one neighbor accumulated wealth; while living in a relatively impoverished community; there is a sinking suspicion that that person is a witch or used their powers for bad to achieve that wealth (176). The assumption in the community that someone who doesn’t use their wealth to help push the community forward collectively but uses it only for their personal gain is associated with having dark, witch-like powers. Another African belief is that ancestors are in contact with their living family members. If ancestors are unhappy about the ethics of their current family they may return as an uneasy spirit (180). Also, if one harmed others in the community, bad luck would fall on them, as a sign of no guardian spirits to intercede on one’s behalf; as if they did not have someone looking out for them or a conscience (180). This relates to witchcraft because it is the same notion of a dark power coming upon people making them act evilly or casting bad luck upon them. Lastly, older women in South Africa are believed to have power, moral sway and control over economic and social capital (177). As these a positive qualities, the youth took this idea to the next level and associated it with witches by viewing these powers as a supernatural distortion, as if they used their powers to purposely make life harder for men (177).
Just three days ago on January 9th an article in the New York Times reported on protests in three cities in Brazil over higher bus fare. This article relates to the protests as talked about in Performing Democracy because like the South Africa community and the mining jobs the men had to work in harsh conditions and for little to no pay, the same is happening in Brazil’s economy as they are entering the worst recession since 1901 (Global Post article). The average person in Brazil does not make a lot of money and majority of the population rides the bus. Since bus fare increased along with the economic problems currently in Brazil, it is creating even more of a hardship on the citizens to even ride to work.