Afro-Christian Religion and Healing in Southern Africa

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Seeks an understanding of one result of the syncretism of Southern African Christianity, namely, the increasing evidence among African Christians of ancestor veneration, belief in possession by alien spirits, dance-induced trancing, and witch beliefs.

". . . the significance of this volume lies . . . in the fact that South African anthropologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and theologians could talk with rather than at each other about pastoral theology and healing in the work of independent churches. . . . the volume will be used in graduate and research studies by students of anthropology, psychiatry, psychology, and religion." - Choice


"This book brings a major introductory contribution to complex and misunderstood practices of holistic healing among African traditional healers and members of the African and independent churches. . . . Researchers will appreciate a glossary of African terms (primarily Zulu), a 15-page bibliography, and indexes of names, subjects, African terms, and biblical references. . . . The diverse interdisciplinary approach is the strength of the book. It is well researched by both black and white south African participants. . . . It is a must reading for missiologists, medical professionals, missionaries, anthropologists, and sociologists interested in the holistic healing practices of Africa amidst contemporary and changing societies." - Missiology

"The nineteen scholarly essays in Afro-Christian Religion and Healing in Southern Africa are a major contribution from the sub-continent on this theme. . . . varied in research methods and analysis of findings, are a rich `mother lode' of data." - Journal of Religion in Africa

“For Africanists, the chief virtues of the volume are its varied descriptions of spirit possession and analyses of traditional worldviews that underlie healing practices. Overall, the papers are probably most helpful t medical practitioners and church scholars. The volume is a pioneer contribution from an African perspective to the growing medical and pastoral literature on holistic healing.” – International Journal of African Historical Studies

Table of Contents



Part One: Traditional Afro-Christian Holistic Healing Procedures in Southern Africa


1. Traditional and Modern Medicine in Southern Africa: Some Reflective and Research Considerations, S.D. Edwards

2. Religion and Healing: The The African Experience, M.V. Buhrmann

3. A Preliminary Analysis of Student Attitudes Towards Modern Doctors, Traditional Healers and Faith Healers, L.M. Nene

4. The Aetiology of Spirit in Southern Africa, W.D. Hammond-Tooke

Part Two: Healing in African Independent Churches


5. Indigenous Healing within the context of African Independent Churches, G.C. Oosthuizen

6. Healing Practices in African Independent Churches, W.H. Wessels

7. A Search for Abundant Life: Health, Healing and Wholeness in Zionist Churches, D. Dube

8. Baptism & Healing in African Independent Churches, G.C. Oosthuizen

Part Three: Zionist Healing and Other Independent Church Procedures


9. The Relative Influence of Participation in Zionist Church Services on the Emotional State of Participants, M.B. Motala

10. Amafufunyana Spirit Possession: Treatment and Interpretation, F.S. Edwards

11. African Independent Churches as Healing Communities, H. Jurgen Becken

12. Music and Dance as Therapy in African Traditional Societies with Special Reference to the iBlandla lamaNazaretha (the Church of the Nazarites), B.N. Mthethwa

Part Four: African Healing and Western Therapy


13. The iSangoma as Psycho-therapist, I. Mkhwanazi

14. The umthandazi - Prayer-Healer, H.B. Mkhize

15. Priests Before Healers - an Appraisal of the iSangoma or iSanusi in Nguni Society, J.A. Griffiths & R. W. S. Cheetham

16. The Traditional Healer/Diviner as Psychotherapist and a Schematic Presentation, R.W.S. Cheetham & J.A. Griffiths

17. Healers: Modern and Traditional, M.V. Gumede

18. Healing: Xhosa Perspective, F.S. Edwards


19. Healing as a Psychosomatic Event, F.B. Welbourn




Index of Names

Index of Subjects

Index of African Terms

Index of Biblical References

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