Witch doctor

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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.



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