Destiny as Story, Destiny as Object : Story Telling and Ritual in Afa Divination in Southern Ghana


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  • もの/語りとしての運命 : ガーナの卜占アファにおける呪術的世界の構成
  • モノ カタリ ト シテ ノ ウンメイ ガーナ ノ ボクセンアファ ニ オケル ジュジュツテキ セカイ ノ コウセイ

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<p>In this article, I will try to analyze the characteristics of Afa divination practiced by the Ewe in a migrant society in the Eastern Region of the Republic of Ghana. The majority of earlier studies on divination in sub-Saharan Africa have pointed out the sociopolitical functions of divination, such as legitimating the social order and creating consensus in society. On the other hand, the new trend - which can be called the interactive approach - focuses on divination as a practice that establishes dialectic forms within social and cultural realities. Unlike the structural-functionalist approaches, the interactive approach regards the participants of divination as active agents, and analyzes divination as a vehicle for articulation and negotiation of meanings and categorizations of social reality. Such interactive studies are important, as they contribute to the exploration of the role of individual interaction and human agency in divinatory processes. At the same time, those arguments are dangerous, in that they may reduce the significance of impersonal authoritative meaning and external agencies beyond human intention - which can be created or activated through the divinatory practice - to merely a precondition for people to act decisively in their everyday social lives. This article tries to explore the creative aspect of Afa, which generates multi-vocal stories and pluralistic realities through divination and ritual performance. In the first part, I analyze dialogues between an Afa diviner and clients at an Afa shrine located in Southeastern Ghana. Through the consultation process, the diviner and his client constitute a story based on both the personal experience of the client and the allegories and myths narrated by the diviner. In the second part, I analyze the ritual following the divination. The diviner and his client try to modify the sequence of the story that symbolizes the 'destiny (se)' of the client, by manipulating magical objects and making sacrifices. Through that whole process, they create multivocal utterances and constitute the magical reality in which external agents such as sacrifices, mythical figures and deities can affect the destiny of the client. In Chapter 1, I begin with an examination of earlier studies on divination, in order to show the theoretical point of my study. In Chapter 2, I first show the outline of Afa divination, and then introduce the life story of the Afa diviners. I conducted fieldwork in an Akan-based migrant society called Densuso, located in Akyem Abuakwa in the Eastern Region. From the end of the 19th century a large number of the cocoa farmers and farm workers emigrated to Akyem Abuakwa, where they built new towns and villages. The majority of the immigrant cocoa farmers were the matrilineal Akan and the patrilineal Guan from the Akuapim ridge, while most of the farm workers were the Ewe from the Volta Region and Togo. As a result of that immigration process, various ethnic groups, such as the Akan, Guan, Adangme and Ewe, occupy this area today. An Ewe diviner called Tebe Kpakpo from Southern Togo built an Afa shrine in Densuso around 1950. Tebe and his son Kwasi perform divination and ritual as diviner-priest (toboko) and main diviner (boko) at this shrine. Since its foundation, this shrine has attracted a large number of clients from various areas in the country. The main activities at the Afa shrine are consultation and rituals for clients. The diviner casts 16 nutshell pieces (kpele) to inquire into the problems of his client. In the ritual following the divination, the diviner and his client often make sacrifices to get the client out of his/her critical situation. In Chapter 3, I first introduce the technique of Afa divination. Secondly, I analyze the dialogues between the diviner and the client based on my own participant observation. Through consultation, the diviner tries to explore the heart of his</p><p>(View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)</p>


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