'Witch' hunt in contemporary Tanzania : exploring cultural and structural factors leading to violence against women in a Sukuma village
The presented work investigates root causes behind contemporary ‘witch’ hunt in Tanzania and is based on a four months research in the region Shinyanga in Tanzania. For many years elderly women in Tanzania’s north-western region have been victims of brutal collective violence, accused of being ‘witches’. While some manage to flee, others are killed in their home villages. The perpetrator is the traditional police Sungusungu controlling the behaviour of women. Numbers show that this type of violence has increased after independence. Socio cultural factors are assumed to encourage phenomena like ‘witch’ hunt or other kinds of violence against women. This research examines patriarchy as possible root cause and identifies three cultural factors legitimating patriarchy in the local context: Bride price, traditional knowledge in form of myths and religion, as well as customary laws of inheritance. The findings support the theory of a causal chain from cultural, via structural to direct violence, the former legitimizing and justifying the latter. In addition my research indicates that an explicit gender perspective contributes to an additional and important aspect of Johan Galtung’s conflict theory. Positive transformative steps in village will be presented.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2004 The Author(s)
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