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Spellbound: Inside West Africa's Witch Camps Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
What first appears to be simply an issue of African superstitions quickly shows itself to be more complicated and a way to dispose of women who have outlived their usefulness or who are proving too adept at business. It's also a solution to the jealousy that is common in the polygamous societies of Northern Ghana. While these causes are visible to outsiders, Karen still wants to learn if there is any truth behind these claims...can witchcraft really exist or is it just so deeply engrained in the population that they see the evidence they wish to see?
This was an interesting account of Ghana and this issue. Karen Palmer is careful to examine all sides of the issue and never comes to a hasty conclusion, either regarding witchcraft itself or a solution to the problems. A well written account; recommended for any interested in human rights issues or Africa itself. I only wish that the author would have included some of the photographs that she wrote about taking.
Ms. Palmers writes a brief history of how British colonialism created tension in the country and how the British tried to handle the situation. She explains that witchcraft is not outlawed in Ghana and there are "licensed" practitioners who usually are men. She explained how these men may be contributing to the women being accused of witchcraft. The author doesn't belittle the Ghanaians who believe in the practice, and even explains that witchcraft hasn't been absent from European history or her own current beliefs. Actually, Ms. Palmer seems to go out of her way to try to find people to validate the practice. She shares the frustration of trying to obtain substantive proof by interviewing the women, their families, herbalist (the male witches), doctors, government agencies, and aid groups which assist the women. Often times she shares with us the cultural differences of understanding, especially when trying to obtain an answer to her question.
The author doesn't discredit witchcraft, nor does she give definite proof of it. She provides the reader with information to form his or her own opinion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I briefly visited a witch's camp in Ghana in 2007. That experience left me with many questions which this book helps to answer. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ruth Tobey
Wonderful and riveting story -really of Northern Ghana-not West Africa-but gave a compelling portrait of why witchcraft is so ingrained and so difficult to addressPublished on April 27, 2014 by michael fowler