Witchcraft and scepticism by proxy : Pentecostalism and laughter in urban Malawi

TitleWitchcraft and scepticism by proxy : Pentecostalism and laughter in urban Malawi
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsR.A. van Dijk
EditorH. Moore, and T. Sanders
Secondary TitleMagical interpretations, material realities : modernity, witchcraft and the occult in postcolonial Africa
Pagination97 - 117
Date Published2001///
Place PublishedLondon
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, Baptist Church, Malawi, Pentecostalism, witchcraft

From the mid-1970s, the younger generation in Malawi has largely supported the spread of a new kind of charismatic Pentecostalism. Small groups of itinerant preachers began moving around Malawi's urban areas. Their Christian fundamentalist message always touched on the issue of witchcraft as the centre of innate evil. Focusing on the street-preachers' movement in Chilomoni, a township of Blantyre, particularly the Miracle Power of God-Fellowship, this chapter shows that the Pentecostal ideology presented by these preachers and their charismatic fellowships created space to experience witchcraft in terms of mockery, laughter and amusement. Scepticism about certain witchcraft cases became an important element in the movement's exercise of spiritual power. The chapter concludes by emphasizing the need for a socioculturally inspired analysis of the scptical style that emerges as the distinguishing mark of these modern religious formations. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]

Citation Key1016