Religious History

Aids and Religious Practice in Africa by Felicitas Becker, Wenzel Geissler, P. Wenzel Geissler

By Felicitas Becker, Wenzel Geissler, P. Wenzel Geissler

This quantity explores how AIDS is known, faced and lived with via non secular rules and practices, and the way those, in flip, are reinterpreted and adjusted via the event of AIDS. interpreting the social construction, and productiveness, of AIDS - linking physically and religious stories, and non secular, clinical, political and financial discourses - the papers counter simplified notions of causal results of AIDS on faith (or vice versa). as an alternative, they reveal people's resourcefulness of their fight to maneuver forward even with adversity. This relativises the imaginative and prescient of doom greatly linked to the African AIDS epidemic; and it permits to determine AIDS, rather than a unique occasion, because the end result of a century-long strategy of altering livelihoods, physically health and wellbeing and religious imaginaries.

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40 heike behrend The Uganda Martyrs Guild In 1885 and 1886, king Mwanga of Buganda beheaded, speared, hacked into pieces and burned a number of young Catholics, Protestants und Muslims,12 most of whom were working as pages at the king’s court. The reasons for the persecutions of Christians and Muslims in Buganda have been heavily debated (Kassimir 1991). Since this time, the Catholic Church, in particular, attempted to make the Catholic victims the centre of a cult of martyrs,13 interpreting them as the followers or sons of older African martyrs such as Perpetua, Felicity, and Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage.

In 1920, the Uganda Martyrs were beatified and in October 1964 canonised. The UMG evolved into an organisation for Catholic action which continued to have chapters in most districts and dioceses. Some of these chapters became highly politicised and had varying degrees of influence on local branches of the Democratic Party that was formed (as the party of the Catholics) in the 1950s (Kassimir 1991: 378). An impressive shrine was built in Namugongo to commemorate the martyrs and to establish a cult centre, but not until the emergence of a new form of popular Catholicism in the 1980s did this shrine, as well as those in Nakivubu and Katoosa, start to gain importance and large-scale and regular pilgrimages begin.

When they reached a house in which something evil was thought to be present, the Holy Spirit used their bodies as an indicator for the presence of satanic powers. Then some especially gifted members of the UMG, often children, fell to the ground, trembling and shaking violently until the evil person or thing had been detected. When all the satanic items had been collected—such as pots, a dried human hand, pieces of cloth belonging to people who had died and been ‘eaten’, horns (mahembe) and all sorts of medicine—they were displayed in front of the church to be seen by everybody.

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