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Besides the metaphoric use of the word "magician", the term has varied uses, but two broad categories are of importance for this encyclopaedia.

The practitioner of paranormal or ritual magic

Primarily this refers to the Magician as a practitioner of magic in the full paranormal sense, as someone with occult powers. (Afrikaans: Towernaar)

However, a related concept is perhaps more relevant here, namely the magician as a practitioner of ceremonial magic, a system of occult techniques for spiritual development in an individual and/or community, also used to promote and or social cohesion. In some contexts, especially in fantasy fiction, this person may be referred to by a number of terms, including a Magician, Wizard, Sorcerer - even Witch or Mandrake.

These kind of practices - rituals, ceremonies and other performance events related to the transcendental and occult - are an important factor in the origins of what is broadly termed "African performance".

See also Shaman, Witch doctor, Toordokter (in Afrikaans) and Sangoma (in African languages).

The stage magician or illusionist

An entertainer who performs magic by creating the illusion of impossible or supernatural feats; also known as a stage magician or illusionist. In this sense it is a form of theatre and performance, and such magicians are listed in ESAT as performers. (Known as a Kulkunstenaar in Afrikaans.)

In the 19th century illusionism had become very popular and many Illusionists, some utilizing technology such as magic lanterns and mechanical puppets, visited South Africa for performances.

See for example


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