Witch doctor

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Called a Toordokter in Afrikaans,

The word can have two related meanings, and for this reason there are two terms in Nguni for this, namely a Sangoma (referring to a diviner) or an Inyanga (a herbalist) in Nguni languages.

Firstly it may refer to a diviner (Sangoma), 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, also used to promote and or social cohesion. In this sense the "witch doctor" was a powerful and influential member of society, in the same way a court magician or shaman may have been in other cultures.

Secondly, and more commonly today, refers to a herbalist (Inyanga) and traditional African healer, who may or may not also have psychic and prophetic powers.

See also Shaman and Sangoma.

Return to

Return to The South African Context/General Terminology and Thematic Entries

Return to South African Theatre/Terminology and Thematic Entries

Return to South African Film /Terminology and Thematic Entries

Return to South African Media/Terminology and Thematic Entries

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page