n Acta Academica - Witchcraft and a life in the new South Africa, Isak Niehaus : book review

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


Isak Niehaus's is a haunting yet accessible book which reads like a novel. To begin with, this book tells Jimmy Mohale's (1964-2005) life story - as a husband, father, son, and history teacher. It is very often the unedited (see Niehaus 2013: 210), raw narrative of an intelligent man, perhaps not with a perfect disposition. It is about a man and his loves and losses, his family, his yearning for career advancement and the disappointment of being overlooked. It is the account of a man that, for all intents and purposes, should be a successful middle-class professional. It is Jimmy's telling of a life flecked with bad luck, accidents, death, loss of love, loss of health, loss of dignity, and loss of life. This pessimistic tone (Niehaus 2013: 19), Niehaus explains, is the lens with which Jimmy eventually came to interpret his life. Jimmy was desperately convinced that he was the victim of his father's malicious witchcraft.

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