n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Witchcraft-related crime as ritualised violence in the Eastern Cape

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The occurrence of witchcraft-related violence, which includes accusations of witchcraft, assault, or murder of suspected witches, and the killing of people for their body parts in order to make (African traditional medicine), seems to suggest that these acts possess certain characteristics of ritualisation. In most cases of such violence, there appears to be a conscious attempt by perpetrators of such violence to instil immense fear, not only in the victims of such violence, but also in the communities in which these acts occur. This article examines the relationship between witchcraft-related crime and ritualised violence in the Xhosa-speaking communities of the north-eastern part of the Eastern Cape Province, in an area often referred to as Mpondoland. It is based on the author's research into witchcraft-related violence in the region and explores how perpetrators of such violence employ rituals, not only to instil fear in communities, but also to specifically coerce them into compliance and support for the violent treatment of suspected witches.

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