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5 Magic, Witchcraft, Religion And Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with magic, witchcraft and religion and how they affect the production and dissemination of knowledge and information. In Zimbabwe, to the dismay of the colonial authorities who were intent on 'improving' African agriculture, Africans always linked good crop yield to magic, witchcraft and religion instead of to good farming practices , and skills such as hunting were linked to magic and religion. Regardless of the differences within and across religions (both Shona religion and Christianity), religious belief affects conceptions of knowledge and how agriculture is practised. The chapter primarily aims to discuss how the beliefs impact on knowledge. The interweaving of outside and local knowledge and diverse local theoretical traditions has led to knowledge that defies attempts to be strait-jacketed into categories of traditional or scientific. The chapter shows that African religion and culture are highly flexible and mechanisms exist within it for generating change.

Keywords:African agriculture; African religion; knowledge production; Shona culture; witchcraft



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