• A nyongo sorcerer was identified through his modern house with its zinc roof, which was a mark of sudden wealth. • Zinc houses indicated possession of sudden wealth, and it was believed that modern houses could not have been constructed ordinarily. • To the extent that it attacked an indicator of prosperity, belief in Nyongo was an obstacle to economic growth.
Case 2: Witchcraf Accusation among the Bakweri, Cameroon ..2 Nyongo as an obstacle to Economic Development • Few villagers dared to construct zinc houses, and several modern houses that existed remained empty. • New forms of wealth were considered dangerous because their beneficiaries were immediately suspected of having Nyongo. • The Nyongo phenomenon was a “traditional” obstacle to development. Impact of the Bakweri Cooperative Union of Farmers • In 1951, a few Bakweri intellectuals founded the “Bakweri Cooperative Union of Farmers.” • The Cooperative promoted cultivation of banana for the export market in Europe.
Case 2: Witchcraf Accusation among the Bakweri, Cameroon ..3 Impact of the Bakweri Cooperative Union of Farmers • More villager cultivated banana and became wealthy. • The banana-boom increased Nyongo accusation significantly. • The youths accused their elders of trying to drag them into Nyongo. • By 1955, the village council of Lysoka agreed to seek Obasinjom as the solution to the Nyongo crisis. The Arrival of Obasinjom • Obasinjom juju was bought from Bayangi to identify and punish those who had wealth witchcraft.
Case 2: Witchcraf Accusation among the Bakweri, Cameroon ..4 The Arrival of Obasinjom • With the Nyongo witches identified, more modern houses were constructed and occupied. • But after 1963, banana prices fell and the business became unattractive. • The post banana boom disappointment coincided with a new witchcraft scare. • It was alleged that the Bakweri were transformed into zombies to work in a new seaport under construction. • Again, during the SAP induced austerity measures, Nyongo resurrected. • By end of 1988. Obasinjom was once again dancing all across the mountain villages to unmask sorcerers.
Case 2: Witchcraf Accusation among the Bakweri, Cameroon ..5 Cycles of witchcraf accusation coinciding with economic change • Witchcraft accusation is seen to play an active role in economic change among the Bakweri . – People considered to be rich during times of hardship were accused of witchcraft. – At the same time, fear of being accused of witchcraft caused many people to limit accumulation or hid their wealth. • Nyongo was not an equalizing force, it was the danger of being accused of Nyongo that had the equalizing impact. • Belief in Nyongo was an obstacle to new forms of enrichment. • Obasinjom itself can be described as a form of witchcraft, an anti-thesis of Nyongo. • Using any case study of your choice, show that witchcraft accusation is a manifestation of the struggle for resources and contradiction between different classes of the society
REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Using any case study of your choice, show that witchcraft accusation is a manifestation of the struggle for resources and contradiction between different classes of the society.
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