Sangoma usually refers to someone with psychic and prophetic powers, a practitioner of ceremonial magic, utilizing a system of occult techniques for healing and spiritual development in an individual and/or community, and to promote social cohesion. In this sense the witch doctor was a revered, powerful and influential member of society, in the same way a court magician or shaman may have been in other cultures.
Inyanga on the other hand, refers to a herbalist and traditional African healer, who may or may not also have psychic and prophetic powers.
Both are referred to as a Witch doctors in colonial writings and culture (and not always in a positive sense in the more sensational writing).
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page