From African Socialism to Scientific Capitalism: Reflections on the Legitimation Crisis in IMF-ruled Africa
In the summer of 1989, I travelled across a Zambia reeling from the effects of a newly imposed IMF structural adjustment regime .4 Prices of essential goods were skyrocketing, employment declining, and real incomes rapidly shrinking. Many wondered how they would manage to make ends meet. Many, indeed, were failing to make ends meet: with high food prices, many went hungry; with free medical care abolished, many sick could not receive treatment. For my part, I was trying to buy some blankets for a trip to the countryside; but everywhere I went, blankets were either unavailable or selling for preposterously high prices. Finally, after days of looking in the major centers of Lusaka and Kitwe, we found abundant, cheap blankets at a shop in the provincial town of Mansa. I wondered how it was that this merchant had in such abundance what was in short supply throughout the country. My research assistant, a young, educated Zambian man, had the answer: this merchant was widely known as a powerful sorcerer. He obtained his supplies by making potent medicines from the organs of human beings whom he murdered. It was the hearts, in particular, that he was after; this was what gave him his special supply lines, and had enabled him to grow very rich.
KeywordsSugar Dust Europe Income Expense
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Cited in Steven Feierman, Peasant Intellectuals: Anthropology and History in Tanzania ( Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990 ), p. 46.Google Scholar
- 3.David Lan, Guns and Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985 ), p. 217.Google Scholar
- 6.John Clark and Caroline Allison, Zambia: Debt and Poverty ( Oxford: Oxfam Publications, 1989 ).Google Scholar
- 8.Jean and John L. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa, Volume One (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991 ), p. 143.Google Scholar
- 10.Sally Falk Moore, Social Facts and Fabrications: ‘Customary’ Law on Kilimanjaro, 1880–1980 ( New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986 ), p. 301.Google Scholar
- 15.E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic among the Azande ( Oxford: Clarendon, 1976 ).Google Scholar
- 20.Julius K. Nyerere, Ujamaa: Essays on Socialism ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1968 ), p. 1.Google Scholar
- 24.The World Bank, Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action ( Washington, DC: The World Bank, 1981 ).Google Scholar
- 32.Mark Auslander, ‘“Open the Wombs”: The Symbolic Politics of Modern Ngoni Witchfinding,’ in Jean and John Comaroff (eds), Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993 ).Google Scholar
- 38.David Cohen, ‘Forgotten Actors’, PAS News and Events ( Evanston: Northwestern University Program of African Studies, 1993 ), p. 4.Google Scholar