August 13, 2008

Book Notice: Unveiling Witchcraft

Anatoli Wasswa and Henry Ford Miirima, Unveiling Witchcraft (Kisubi, Uganda: Marianum Press, 2006), 361 pp. Illustrated.

Though witchcraft is often mentioned in East Africa, it is more widely feared than subjected to critical study. Nevertheless, one recent book by Ugandans offers first-person research on witchcraft throughout the region. Wasswa is a Catholic priest and herbalist, while Miirima is a veteran local journalist. Together they have produced the only detailed examination of witchcraft currently available in Kampala’s general-interest bookstores. While I have not yet read it and thus cannot assess its level of scholarship, Unveiling Witchcraft is a noteworthy study of an important but much-neglected topic.

From the back cover:
Unveiling Witchcraft is a very provocative book about witchcraft, a hitherto taboo subject. The publication is important in exposing witchcraft as practised by the witch-doctors.

Witch-craft, which is considered a religion by different peoples worldwide, is the veneration or worshiping (okusamira) of ancestral spirits (bajjajja). Over 1000 years ago witchcraft became a culture or a lifestyle of peoples mostly in Africa. Ancestral spirits in Buganda and Bunyoro-Kitara mean a host of things, such as, lubaale, emizimu, amayeme, emisambwa, ebyookola, etc. In the English language all these are called "Spirits."

By making a bold venture into unveiling witchcraft’s lies and tricks by witch-doctors, the co-authors have opened a new chapter in Uganda particularly and in Africa generally with penetrating insights into traditional religions.

Publisher contact:
Marianum Press