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The business of divining : a study of healing specialists at work in a culturally plural border community of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

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This thesis is the result of virtually a year's research conducted in three adjacent villages in northern Zululand, in the district known as KwaNgwanase. This community is distinguished by being subject to historical Zulu conquest, to a continuing influx of migrants fron neighbouring countries and to more recent social and economic transformation. It therefore exhibits a considerable degree of structural variation and cultural complexity, which in divining practice is registered as 'divinatory syncretism'. The theoretical stance adopted to make sense of this complex of variants is praxeological, with an enphasis on understanding divination from within, for which purpose the field method of participant observation is particularly suitable. Built upon close and prolonged interaction with some twenty diviners, the thesis examines divination from two interconnected perspectives; as a mystical performance, in which the inspired diviner endeavours to uncover the truth of a client's condition, and as a professional business in which the econanic motive is pararrount and in which the more successful corrpetitors flourish as entrepreneurs. KwaNgwanase itself emerges as a workshop of experimentation in mystical and syrrbolic forms, while it begins to export its innovative techniques to a broader market.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2002.


Divination--KwaZulu-Natal., Healers--KwaZulu-Natal., Tsonga (African people), Medical anthropology., Divination--Economic aspects., Theses--Anthropology.