Robert W Nicholls - Masebe
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Robert W Nicholls – African Dance; Transition and Continuity
From African Dance – edited by Kariamu Weish Asante
The Masabe dances of the Tonga of Zambia are perfomed by women to exorcise mischievous possessing spirits. The Azande of southern Sudan use divination dances when hunters repeatedly fail to make a catch. Similarly the origins of the Adzogbo dance of the Ewe of Ghana was as a divination dance through which war leaders would predict the course of an upcoming battle by interpreting the movements of young male initiates. Dance acts as healer during curative rituals involving the diagnosis and treatment of the physically and mentally ill. Rites termed ‘drums of affliction’ that include dance, are performed by the Ndembu of Zambia, while Afruja dances are used by the Igede to treat persons suffering from mental illness. On being cured the former patient joins the cult responsible for the cure and participates in subsequent curative rites.