A review of plants used for magic by Basotho people in comparison with other cultural groups in Southern Africa

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11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on comprehensive literature survey and my own observations while growing up in Lesotho, this paper presents an evaluation of plants utilized as magic charms by the Basotho people (residing both in Lesotho and the Free State Province of South Africa), these uses are in turn compared to other cultures in southern Africa, particularly South Africa. The Basotho people make use of a total of 197 plant species for magic purposes. The plants are used for a wide range of magic purposes ranging from love philtres to good luck charms, charms to turn enemy bullets into water, as well as protective charms, but can also be used to inflict harm. The highest number of species are used as protective charms (47), with divination (including initiation of diviners) second (35), and charms against lightning, thunder and hail third (33). Surprisingly, of the 197 species recorded, only seven are also used as magic charms by other cultural groups in southern Africa, especially the Tswana, Xhosa and Zulu people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
Volume16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Basotho people
  • Good luck charms
  • Lesotho
  • Love charms
  • Magic plants
  • Protective charms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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