You are on page 1of 37

Jujus: Beliefs, Uses, and Prevalence of Charms in The Gambia, Africa Jackie Fullerton July, 2010 2010 Gambia

Field Studies Program Credits: ANTH 303 (4/8) and PSYC 397 (4/4)

!" "

Table of Contents Sections of Paper ! Abstract pg. 3 ! Introduction pg. 3 ! Methods pg. 13 ! Results pg. 16 ! Discussion pg. 28 ! Acknowledgements pg. 35 ! Works Cited pg. 36 Figures ! Figure 1. Arch Museum pg. 4 ! Figure 2. Arch Museum What is a Juju? Display pg. 5 ! Figure 3. Young girl wearing jujus pg. 6 ! Figure 4. Sign Promoting Traditional Medicine pg. 29

#" "

Abstract This research paper focuses on the practice of jujus in The Gambia. The information was collected through scholarly, as well as on site research on personal beliefs surrounding Jujus, the history behind their use, and their prevalence in modern day traditional medicine. Jujus, otherwise called gris-gris, charms, or amulets, are used primarily throughout Western Africa as tools for gaining control over ones life. They have a religious component to them, that of the Muslim faith. Jujus gain their power from the greater source held by supernatural beings, primarily jinns (spirits) and God (Allah). Oftentimes they contain verses from Koranic scripture, chosen by marabouts. Marabouts are trained in Koranic study, usually inherit their position from a direct relative, and are respected members of African society. A marabout will make a juju for an individual depending on their personal request. They can be manufactured for basically any purpose, but are primarily used for protection and healing. There are two types of jujus that are most commonly used. The first is a scripture from the Koran that has been sown in its corresponding animal skin and is then worn on the body. It is typically worn either on the wrist, arm, neck, or waist. The other type is a juju potion, or liquid juju. The marabout will wash the chosen scripture from the Koran in water, pray over the liquid, and finally add the ingredients corresponding to that juju. Each marabout makes jujus differently depending on the knowledge he received from his ancestors and God. Jujus are commonly used and widespread.

$" "

As our group of 28 St. Marys students arrived at the large Arch Museum in The Gambias capital, Banjul, I was still fairly clueless about how I wanted to spend the next seven weeks of my stay here in The Gambia doing a research project. I entered the museum into the world of jujus, an unknown world to me at that time. The museum was solely dedicated to jujus and the beliefs surrounding them. I have always been interested in supernatural beliefs and things of that sort, and was drawn to the juju displays with this idea in mind. I had never encountered jujus before and was in the dark about how the belief could be as widespread and long lived as the plaques on the wall portrayed. I was curious about how I had never once heard of this African practice. I struck up a conversation with one of the museum workers, conveying to her my interest in the subject and asking her point of view. Being an American, and at this point nave to the Gambian society, I expected her to describe the practice with skepticism. I was taken aback when she told me that everyone she knew believed in jujus and that she believed completely in their power. She claimed that jujus had changed her life multiple times and this was what brought her to work in the museum. I was shocked and intrigued.

Figure 1. Arch Museum

%" "

Figure 2. Arch Museum What is a Juju? Display My next interaction with jujus was a pivotal point in my decision to research the topic; this interaction took place at Tumani Tenda village. There I not only encountered numerous children and adults wearing jujus, but I met a little girl who changed my life. She was very young, a small child the size of a two-year old. She did not speak, but merely followed the other children around in a dazed state. I do not know where her family was or who her siblings were. No one really seemed to pay her any mind. This individuality and uniqueness is part of what initially drew me to her. I wanted to know her story. When I walked up to the young girl, her story seemed to unfold in front of me. She was sick, very sick. I could see this in every dimension of her demeanor and physical appearance. I then noticed that she was completely covered in jujus, from her neck, upper arms, wrists, to her bloated waist. This was, to me, a clear indication that someone felt that she needed help in a way that people were struggling to provide. The jujus she wore were attempts to play a role in this young childs fate, but how? I decided at this point I needed to find out more about these charms. I needed to find out how they were believed to help this small girl, living in such poor health and poverty-stricken conditions. Where was the power of the juju supposed to come from? Was this charm seen as effective? If so, by

&" "

who? How much faith was being placed in its power? What proof of its effectiveness existed? Was this proof based on scientific, hearsay, or personally experienced evidence?

Figure 3. Young girl wearing jujus From this point on, knowing my topic of focus, I went to work interviewing and discussing jujus with people in the area of Berefet where I lived. I was unable to find one person in this small village who did not believe in jujus. Everyone either owned a juju or knew someone who did. What is it that causes so many people to want jujus? Especially, in an area where even basic needs are oftentimes met with difficulty, desires for extraneous things are for the most part put aside. Were they seen as necessary? If so, this would account for their widespread use, but what was it that made them so vital? I found that many people believe that by wearing a juju, they are drawing on the greater power of mystical beings which inhabit the world in order to shape or control parts of their lives that seem uncontrollable. What supernatural beings are involved in the use of jujus? What role do these mysterious beings play? As I found out more information about the beliefs concerning the use of jujus and their power, I began to wonder what a person would have to do to use this particular power. Also,

'" "

what processes are involved in obtaining a juju before it can be used? Marabouts are the men that make and distribute jujus; it is their profession, as well as social position in the community. Jujus can be used in a variety of fashions, depending on their intended use and a marabouts individualized instructions. Oftentimes, they will include verses from the Koran. As I found out more about how people used jujus, I also was subjected to various examples of types of jujus. There were countless types. Yet, which types are most commonly used? I began collecting as many examples of types of jujus that I could find in order to get an idea of the vastness of their purposes and look for trends in the most commonly sought after types. As strong as the belief in jujus appeared in Berefet, when I moved to Happy Camp, a more urban area by far, I began to experience a more Westernized view and skepticism of their use. This led me to look for trends in my data concerning who believed and didnt believe, as well as their reasoning for both. I focused on finding trends in geographical regions, age groups, and genders. Throughout my research I used both real life experiences and outside written sources. These scholarly sources allowed me to elaborate on what I had learned firsthand, see a broader perspective on jujus and the concepts connected to them, and gain insight on the existing literature on the topic. Unfortunately, there was not a vast amount of information published specifically about the practice of jujus. The sources I was able to find were more focused on the cultural themes surrounding the practice. Overall, the difficulty in finding empirical sources demonstrated to me the importance of acquiring knowledge from the source, the people holding the beliefs in jujus, to understanding their widespread use in The Gambia.

(" "

The general theme revealed in all existing scholarly articles was the African belief in the supernatural and their views on the way supernatural beings were connected to the human world. Supernatural beings are believed to provide power to jujus. A lot of ambiguity existing in the literature was a result of all of the readings attempting to isolate themes in African beliefs across the continent. This is a very difficult, if not impossible task, because of the great variation of these beliefs from country to country, and more specifically, culture to culture. With this in mind, it was interesting to see what viewpoint the authors chose to take when explaining what they considered to be the primary African beliefs, how their perspectives varied from one anothers, and how these themes compared to those I observed when living in The Gambia. Mbiti (1989) focuses on the way that many African religions perceive the world and how this worldview view manifests in religious beliefs. Most of the information centered on supernatural beliefs and their role in daily life. The reading explained how supernatural beings are similar to, and different from, man. It was intriguing to see that many of these beliefs were quite similar to what I experienced in the Gambia, because the book is over twenty years old. This portrays the consistency of religion and its relevance throughout time. It also shows the traditional beliefs behind jujus and highlights how these beliefs, and in conjunction with them, the practice of jujus, have persevered over the years. In African Religions and Philosophy, Mbiti (1989) explained how the hierarchical view in most African cultures, with the older being the most respected, transcends into the supernatural world as well. The older a supernatural being is believed to be, the more power it encompasses. The most powerful being is God, followed by jinns. Jinns are what remains of human beings when they die, physically. Every person is inevitably going to become a jinn. Although when a human dies, he/she is thought to move up on the hierarchical ladder of power

)" "

and respect, death is not perceived optimistically. It is not seen as an entry into the afterlife, but rather, it is cold and disconnected. Jinns lack human characteristics and all family, emotional, and/or personal ties are broken upon the past humans death. Mbiti (1989) claims that jinns are not inheritably good or bad, but instead lack personalities completely. They act without conscious decisions or thought. Their actions are arbitrary and erratic. He says that these differences in functioning, and the belief that one day man will certainly end up this way, makes them foreign and uncomforting to humans. In addition, their ubiquitous presence and greater power than humans makes them a threat. Mbiti (1989) seems to contradict himself several times when talking about jinns. He says at one point that jinns are so unpredictable that the safest thing is to keep away from them. He later says that if jinns are forgotten and not recognized that this is regarded as extremely dangerous and can result in negative consequences. Furthermore, he claims that jinns are not good or bad. This is a claim that was not supported by any of the Gambians I spoke to concerning their beliefs in the matter. Most people stated distinctly that evil jinns are those that wish to hurt and destruct, and good jinns are those that bring good fortune. He stated later that there was such a thing as good magic and bad magic. Why is there a discrepancy between good and bad magic, and not good and bad jinns? This is a question I will elaborate on when I begin explaining more about evil supernatural beings, those involved in witchcraft specifically. In the journal article Jinn (Alexander, Dein, & Napier, 2008), a different perspective is introduced on jinns. Alexander et al. (2008) contradict Mbiti (1989) in their discussion of the consciousness of jinns. They claim that jinns are intelligent, can choose between right and wrong, can marry, produce children, eat, drink, and die. This makes the jinn seem to have many

*+" "

human characteristics, while Mbiti (1989) claims that they do not. Mbiti makes their actions appear less intentional, and more unpredictable. Furthermore, while Alexander et al. write that jinns are most likely to occupy dark places, graveyards, and other polluted places, other readings, as well as my interviews with Gambians, emphasize that they are omnipresent and/or mainly prefer to occupy forests. In the article Nature, Culture, and the Supernatural among the Susu (Thayer, 1983), jinns seem more similar to those discussed by Alexander et al. (2008), because they are portrayed with the ability to make conscious decisions. These entities have the power to choose to do good, or to do evil, towards people. In order to play a role in this decision, people perform rituals. These rituals are attempts to receive blessings from good jinns and ward away evil ones. Jujus fit under this category of ritual. Therefore, those who believe in the practice of jujus may be more likely to believe in a more conscious spiritual world. This would be an interesting topic on which to conduct further research. All of the articles I read stated that jinns are seen to have the ability to possess people. The data I collected from Gambian beliefs support this claim. Mbiti (1989) states that possession by a spirit will result in erratic behavior, is oftentimes seen as the cause for mental illness, and is more likely to occur in women than in men. Alexander et al. (2008) specify the behaviors that are often attributed to jinn possession. The specified behaviors, such as depression, withdrawal, jumbled speech, and generally sudden changes in behavior, compare to what workers reported at the Arshifaa Medical Centre as well. Several articles, as well as my personal experiences with Gambians, conveyed the idea that the consequences of bad magic and evil jinns are closely related. Bad magic is the power

**" "

behind sorcery, witchcraft, and demons (International Humanist and Ethical Union, 2007). I found a consistency in this idea specifically in both African Religions and Philosophy (Mbiti, 1989) and Superstition and Witchcraft in Africa (International Humanist and Ethical Union, 2007). Both articles explain that sorcerers and witches draw on the power of evil jinns in order to use bad magic. This is how the two powers are related. These two readings also agree that all of lifes misfortunes are a result of this evil power at work. This is the belief of every Gambian I met who was wearing a juju. I was unable to find any research on whether or not there is a way to determinw origin of evil, and would be an interesting topic for future research. For example, when a misfortune occurs, was it caused by sorcery, witchcraft, demons, evil jinns, etc.? Superstition and Witchcraft in Africa (International Humanist and Ethical Union, 2007) elaborates a bit more on this topic of the origin of evil, with an emphasis on witchcraft. Witchcraft focuses on the existence of sorcerers and witches. Sorcerers are human beings, animals, or insects that tap into the evil power of jinns to cause destruction and harm. Women and infants are most suspected of being sorcerers. Many Gambians seemed to believe that women are most often associated with evil in comparison to men, but there was no mention of infants falling into this category as well. Witches have the power to intervene or influence human lives. These beings are thought to meet mostly at night, when they organize meetings in the seas, oceans, and forests and feast on human blood and flesh. Gambians were less likely to describe where witches reside and practice, and more likely to focus on their ability to eat human flesh and cause destruction. There seems to be a similar confusion with beliefs about witches as there was with jinns in African Religions and Philosophy (Mbiti, 1989). There was widespread disagreement about the African beliefs in witches, particularly if they were seen as good or evil. The International

*!" "

Humanist and Ethical Union (2007) stated that while witches can do good, they are mostly associated with evil. While this claim was made in the article, it was later contradicted with a quote by Dr. Joseph Gbenda of the Benue State University in Markurdi. Dr. Gbenda, who studied African culture in Nigeria, said that witchcraft was primarily seen as good and was attributed to gifted individuals. Later Mr. Chibueze Okorie was quoted as stating that Nigerian people see witchcraft as evil and supported this by referencing the prosecutions, executions, and hunts occurring in the country as a result of suspected witchcraft. Others claim that witchcraft is simply a superstitious belief that is hindering development in many African countries. Therefore, we can conclude that ideas of witchcraft vary from place to place throughout Africa, but the belief is widespread and the general view is that the result is evil. In my personal experience, Gambians viewed witches as evil and as a very real part of their society and lives. There are several ways that people can receive protection from the actions of evil supernatural beings. Alexander et al. (2008) moreso stress the traditional Islam beliefs in gaining protection directly from God, while Mbiti (1989) focuses more on the use of a countering supernatural power, such as that in jujus. The traditional Islam belief was prevalent in speaking with many devout practicing Muslims in the urban areas of The Gambia. This belief is that in order to have protection from jinns one should follow the rules and words of the Koran. God is seen as the ultimate source of power and dictator of all things. Mbiti (1989) emphasizes the belief more common in rural areas, such as Berefet. This belief is that the power of supernatural beings can be tapped into by certain people who have been given the ability to do so by God. This power can be used for many purposes. One of which involves placing the supernatural power into objects, which are worn in order to counteract evil powers. This idea of placing the power in objects brings a component of magic into the process.

*#" "

It can also be used to bring fortune to peoples lives through the good power of God and jinns. The belief in this power is less directly connected to God because the power can be drawn from various sources. I found both of these beliefs to be common in my research amongst Gambian people. Methods Throughout my research, I used a variety of methods to gather information and expand my knowledge on the topic of jujus. Many of the methods I used I learned and applied from the required reading book, Doing Cultural Anthropology (Angrosino, 2007). This prior knowledge of the most efficient ways to go about my research allowed me to use a wider range of sources, conduct myself better during interviews, appeal to people to share more personal details about their experiences, and to delve deeper into my topic of research. I interviewed many people, ranging from villagers to traditional healers and marabouts. I began my research primarily as a participant observer. I acted in this manner during interviews with various people as well as in my encounter with the marabout in Berefet. I was an active participant observer by asking questions, taking notes of our meetings, getting contact information, and using that contact information if a new question or interest arose later on in my project. I also had several jujus made and went through the process of obtaining a juju step by step in order to get the real experience of the processes involved. I visited the juju man several times with a translator, had three jujus made, traveled to Brikama to have the jujus sewn in animal skin by the cobbler there, and wore my juju all the time. When I wore my juju, I recorded how people reacted to me wearing it, the comments they made on it, and how likely people were to notice it.

*$" "

Another method I used in my research was interviewing. I interviewed a variety of native Gambians in order to hear their opinions about what causes people to want jujus, how they are used by the public, whether or not they believe in their power, how one would go about obtaining a juju, what supernatural beliefs are involved in their use, and finally, what personal experiences have they had with them. From these questions I was able to actively ask more specific questions that would give greater insight into my topic. For example, if they said they believed in the power of jujus I asked why this was. I looked for trends in this data based on location and age. Another way I identified was by asking how many jujus they owned, if they were wearing them now, if they had ever gotten their own jujus or were they given as gifts, and if they ever had gone periods without owning any jujus. In relation to the concept of the influence of supernatural beliefs on the practice of jujus, I asked another set of questions. I asked each person about their beliefs in the mystical powers of the universe such as jinns, witchcraft, sorcery, etc. I asked questions in order to get a more detailed look at how prominent beliefs in supernatural powers were in their community and how they saw the beings role in their lives. By doing interviews, I was able to hear a lot about jujus from a cultural point of view. I wanted to hear an insiders view on the subject, one uncensored and real. By observing people sharing their beliefs and experiences, I was able to understand more about how Gambians truly view the world. In order to be the most productive during interviews, I followed a general strategy for the course of action. My first step was to identify the person I wanted to interview. Most of my interviews were the result of recommendations by my professors and from past interviews while in Kanifing Estate. In Kanifing, because I knew who I was going to interview the majority of the time, I would do my best to find out as much information about the person as possible. This way

*%" "

I would have questions more appropriate to their knowledge base. When in Berefet, it was most likely that I would talk to the village marabout, a Gambian worker in our camp, or a villager on my walk to the local shop. My first step at the beginning of any interview was to spell out my goals. Then, during the interview, I would practice using two-part questions. I would begin by introducing why Im asking the question, and follow by asking the question itself. I took detailed notes and paid close attention. The third method I used was using a museum as a resource for my research project. Within the first few days in The Gambia my professors took the entire group of St. Marys students to the countrys capital, Banjul. When in Banjul, we visited the giant Arch, built when the current president came to power in 1994. Inside the Arch, was a museum completely devoted to jujus. Though at this point I was unsure of my research project, I left that day with the topic on my mind and my curiosity buzzing. Later, when I decided to do my research topic on jujus, I recalled the museum and returned there to take in the scene with a greater interest and deeper understanding. Visiting the Arch museum allowed me to apply all of the many personal and specific details I had learned from my interactions and interviews with people to the broader spectrum of cultural and societal beliefs that surrounded juju use. Here in the museum, jujus were related to wars, wrestling, jinns, Islam and more. Not only was I able to see these connections between details and a broader historical perspective, but I learned more concrete information about the types of jujus and, based on what types were displayed, which ones were the most prominently known/used. I also was inspired to interview older people in order to get more personal, historical accounts. By looking at the topic of jujus in a broad sense, in specific displays, and in pictures, I was able to more easily identify themes, make connections, and organize my thoughts.

*&" "

This museum visit is also what prompted me to research more about African supernatural beings and beliefs surrounding them. The final method that encompasses every other mentioned here was the Gambia study program itself; it was the choice I made to participate in an ethnographic field school. By making this decision I decided to move away from the comfort of my home in America to a new culture and allow myself to completely immerse myself in a new place. Throughout the trip I was constantly surrounded by people wearing jujus, available for interviews, interested in traditional medicine, and those who were traditional healers as their profession. By participating in an ethnographic field school, I was able to collect a vast array of data on jujus, as well as learn so much about Gambia society as a whole. I used a thematic analysis approach to organize my data. In each of my interviews, visits, observations, readings, etc., I looked for similarities and differences in data that occurred often enough to indicate a trend. With these trends in mind, I explored further by means of the methods explained above to come to conclusions about more solid themes surrounding the practice of jujus. These included trends in beliefs, practices, prevalence, and more. Finally, with more developed themes in mind I looked for connections between the themes themselves and the implications these connections had on the practice of jujus as a whole in Gambian society. Good! Results Jujus are powerful charms worn or drank by many people throughout West Africa. These charms are believed to call upon supernatural powers of the universe in order to give power to those who wear them. This power can be used for many purposes. Throughout my research I found that the most common purposes for obtaining a juju were for prevention/protection,

*'" "

harming others, to assist in getting what one wants in situations beyond ones control, for improving health, and for improving lifestyle. Primary Uses of Jujus Protection from weapons. Preventative jujus are designed to protect people in times of weakness, such as in times where their own individual power may not be enough. There are several main preventative jujus that are used in Gambian society. The most common of those, protection from weapons, are the type of jujus that are most demonstrated in community events, sought after by men, mentioned, and believed in by people in urban and rural areas alike. There are two main types, called the Kundanoo and Tuul (Arch Museum Juju Exhibit, 2010). Kundanoo jujus are meant to be worn around a persons waist or arm in order to prevent knife or blade penetration. They can be tested in a unique way according to an interview with a Gambian named Lamin J. In order to test a Kundanoo juju his grandfather would use a papaya. He would wrap the juju around it and then try to use a knife on it. If the juju was made properly, the blade would not penetrate. He stated his reason for using this test because, if you dont test it, how do you belief? Tuul jujus protect from both knife and gun wounds. The way that they function was most frequently described to me as, when someone stabs you with a knife or shoots you with a bullet, it will not penetrate your body. This is why many English speakers simply refer to it as the juju for prevention from metal penetration. Before this juju is worn, there is a certain ritual involved. The owner of the juju must put it in his hand, and methodically face east, west, south, and then north. With each turn the owner should throw his hand like he would throw the juju, but not let it

*(" "

go. This ritual makes it so that from every direction a bullet may come, the wearer is protected (Lamin J., personal communication, June 18, 2010). The strong belief and active demonstration of jujus that protect from weapons is what makes them commonly worn in war, battles, fights, etc. The purpose of the juju museum in the Arch at the front of Banjul is to commemorate those who were involved in the coup to take over the president of that time. The lack of bloodshed during the coup was attributed by many to the young military men wearing these jujus (Head of the Arch Museum, personal communication, 2010). Protection from the ill effects of chance events. Another common use for protective jujus is protection from the ill effects of chance events. This is the human attempt to prevent unknown accidents in the future from occurring. These can range from general to more specific incidents. For example, for more general protection a person may acquire such juju types as the Bandurango and Takarango (Arch Museum Juju Exhibit, 2010). Bandurango jujus are meant to be worn around the waist and prevent the wearer from problems. Takarango jujus are means to prevent accidents. In addition to these more general protection options, a person may seek to prevent accidents in specific situations. Accidents at sea can be prevented by a juju that can only be made by a marabout on Sunday (Marabout in Berefet, personal communication, June 08, 2010). If the boat the wearer is on capsizes, he/she will not drown. The water will only rise as high as where the juju is tied. Lamin K., an employee in Berefet, contests that his life was saved by this juju. While jujus can be made to prevent all sorts of specific accidents, the other most common ones that seem to be used are for prevention of accidents abroad, in vehicles, from animal bites, and from poverty.

*)" "

Protection in times of vulnerability. In times of vulnerability, many people seek protection through the power of the juju. It is said that in middle stages of life, such as pregnancy, adolescence, and menopause, people are more susceptible to evil (Arch Museum Juju Exhibit, 2010). For this reason, there are special jujus for times like these. At circumcision/initiation ceremonies, a juju is worn to protect the wearer from witchcraft and devil jinns. Konomaa safoo is a juju meant to be worn by a pregnant woman to protect her unborn child from evil jinns. Babies and children have specially made jujus, often given to them by a family member at birth. Dindingo Safoo jujus are baby jujus that are meant to protect against small illnesses. Malaria is especially considered under this category. There is also a childrens juju that is meant to be worn from the ages of 2-10 years of age. Protection from the law. In cases of conflict with the law, people may seek jujus to assist in clearing their names and getting out of trouble. The marabout in Berefet spoke a lot about the juju that assisted people in court. When someone goes to court and it is likely that they will be found to be guilty, the person ties this numbo juju around their waist during the trial. By wearing this juju, the person will never go to jail. This jujus power was attested to by Lamin Y. who had a friend get out of court who was guilty and no one knew why. The most common juju from protection against trouble with the law is one that facilitates free movement from place to place without conflict. This was explained as juju that would allow people to travel without questioning, carry illegal things without being discovered, or even cross over to different countries without a passport (Lamin Y., personal communication, June 08, 2010).

!+" "

Protection from harm and ability to harm. There are types of juju similar to those that protect from harm mentioned previously, but that also contain an aspect of power that allows the wearer to seek revenge against those trying to harm him/her. The Mankaanoo juju is one of the most dangerous, powerful, and aggressive jujus known to the public (Marabout in Berefet, personal communication, June 2010). When a person has a problem with someone and wants to fight him, the person they are fighting cannot harm them. If the person tries to hit the wearer, he will fall down. If he attempts to grab the wearer, his body will go stiff and he will feel an electric current so strong it will knock him to the ground. In an interview, both Lamin Y. and Lamin K. claimed to have owned this juju and observed its power. Another very strong juju was the one that the marabout of Berefet wore, interestingly the only one he wore. It was shaped as a ring and gave him they power that if an evil person met him and had evil intentions for him, anything evil that person was intending onto him would occur to them instead. Furthermore, if an evil person tried to poison his food, as he reached his hand to eat the poisoned food, the ring would fall off. This would thereby symbolize that the food was unsafe to eat. To assist in getting what one wants in uncontrollable situations. Jujus that assist in getting what one wants in uncontrollable situations appeared to be the most controversial of the most common uses for jujus. This was because it involved a person getting what he wanted without the consideration of what those around him wanted. Specifically, these are jujus that involve bending someones will to meet your own. With this type of juju someone can make someone love them and/or marry them. Additionally, there are those that can be used to get ahead in situations such as elections or employment positions. The most powerful of these types of jujus is the Turasolima binoo because it works against another person to make him

!*" "

unwillingly accept the wishes of the person who possesses the juju. This juju is placed in the horn of a calf and worn like jewelry (Arch Museum Juju Exhibit, 2010). Jujus to assist in uncontrollable situations can be used for beneficial purposes as well. For example, males with impotency may seek the help of these jujus. The males impotency would have to have begun in his lifetime and cause him to be unable to impregnate his wife. When wearing this juju, he would be cured of his illness. Improving lifestyle. Jujus developed to improve lifestyle involve asking for power in fulfilling ones personal wishes. They can be used to help in finding a job, ease of travel, restoring mental strength, reducing stress, and more (Marabout in Berefet, personal communication, June 2010). Students oftentimes use these types of jujus in order to improve their academic performance. For people who are learning, but having difficulty passing exams, they can go from this struggling position to top rank in their class. In order to do this the student would bring his pen to a marabout, the marabout would bless it, and then the student should use this pen during his exams. For students who are having difficulty memorizing what they learn from school, a liquid juju is prescribed. This juju contains honey and goats milk and is meant to be drunk and rubbed on the face and ears both at night and in the morning before eating. Improving health. Oftentimes, when people have health concerns, they will go to the marabout to receive a cure for their illness. Many Gambians claim to prefer visiting marabouts compared to Western clinics because of the quality of service they are provided with there. The marabout in Berefet claimed that the Holy Koran contains the cure for 90% of all illnesses. The most common health concerns that marabouts prescribe jujus for are for internal pain and seizures (Traditional Healer, personal communication, July 07, 2010).

!!" "

Processes Involved in Obtaining a Juju While there is such a vast amount of uses for jujus, what steps must a person go through in order to actually obtain one? The first step that a person must do is visit a marabout. A marabout is a type of traditional healer who specializes in Koranic studies and the knowledge of jujus (Beaks, personal communication, July 07, 2010). The person will visit the marabout and explain what they would like to get a juju for. It will then be made individually, upon request, by the marabout. The marabout will find a scripture from the Koran that reveals itself to him as a cure for the persons problem(s) or concern(s). Many marabouts will make jujus for the same purpose but use different scriptures or methods. The scriptures used are written in Arabic script and are oftentimes the same verses Muslims use when praying. When making a juju, there are at times certain rituals the marabout must follow. Some jujus traditionally are made on certain days of the week, times of the day, or environmental conditions. They are most often made to be worn or as liquid potions. Sometimes the person requesting the juju will have a choice, other times the marabout will follow a certain recipe that requires one way or the other. Worn jujus contain a verse from the Koran inside. After getting this verse from the marabout, a person must make a visit to a cobbler to have it sewn with whatever skin the marabout instructed. They are most often worn on the wrist, upper arm, waist, or neck. Liquid jujus involve the marabout writing a verse from the Koran on paper, washing it with water inside a bottle, and thereby soaking the scripture into the liquid. Other ingredients are added depending on the purpose of the juju. These liquid jujus are washed with or drank in a certain way prescribed by the marabout.

!#" "

There are differences in the jujus depending on the individual that requests them and their unique situation. The marabout in Berefet elaborated on a few of these. Gender differences occur when making a juju. There are different types for women compared to men. Sometimes the scriptures inside of the juju are written for a particular person. If the persons name is written on the scripture, then only he is able to use that juju. When a name is not indicated in the scripture, anyone can use the juju for the purpose it was made. Jujus only work if they are made properly and the individual wearing them follows the directions given to him by the marabout. If the rules involved in making or wearing a juju are not followed, it will lose its power. Supernatural Beliefs Supernatural beliefs are largely integrated into the practice of wearing jujus. Supernatural beings are believed to have superior power compared to humans (Mbiti, 1989). This great power, in combination with their omniscient presence in the African view of the universe, was described by many Gambians to instill fear and uncertainty in their worlds. These mystical beings are seen as the dictators of human fate and the causes for lifes various happenings. They have control over things that people do not. Among these beings, evil and good powers exist and affect humans accordingly. God is the governor of all mystical beings and the highest power that humans appeal to. Religion plays such a prominent role in Gambian society and jujus are centrally based on religious beliefs. They do not have power in themselves, but instead are means to appeal for greater power from those who have more than humans do. The main supernatural beliefs involved in the use of jujus are jinns, witches, sorcerers, magic, demons, and God (Allah).

!$" "

The supernatural beings that have good power are called upon for assistance. The primary beings called upon by marabouts to create power in a juju, are God and jinns (Marabout in Berefets sister, personal communication, June 16, 2010). While God has the most power in the universe, jinns are next in succession of this hierarchical power. Many marabouts believe that they were given their power through God and that by instilling their virtue in the jujus they create, the jujus themselves are appeals to this Godly power (Traditional Healing Day, July 2010). Other marabouts feel that they are able to call upon the power of good jinns to assist in their work. Furthermore, if people wish to connect with good jinns, marabouts may help them with this process. Good spiritual beings do not just work with/through marabouts, they can also give their direct assistance to people that act in a manner in keeping with Muslim religious beliefs. Supernatural beings with evil powers are feared by many, jujus are a form of defense against them. All negative events are blamed upon the work of evil supernatural beings. Corrupt marabouts are those that have been said to call upon evil jinns to cause harm to others (Arshifaa Medical Centre, personal communication, July 01, 2010). This is an example of sorcery. Jujus that work to harm others, for evil intentions, or to help bad people are believed to use the power of evil jinns (International Humanist and Ethical Union, 2007). Evil jinns are followers of Satan. They cause mental and physical harm to people. Some of their main actions are to cast spells, make people go crazy, murder, and possess people (International Humanist and Ethical Union, 2007). Oftentimes, mental illnesses are attributed to jinns and treated by exorcism (Mbiti, 1989). When possessing people, jinns are able to enter through any place in the body. When possessed, an individual takes on the personality and acts of the jinn possessing him.

!%" "

In order to prevent evil jinns from causing them harm, people can wear jujus containing an equal or greater power and respect jinns. If a person disturbs or upsets a jinn they are more likely to be followed by one. Jinns should never be forgotten or neglected. If people do, any misfortune that befalls them is oftentimes attributed to their actions. Certain people have traditionally been said to be targeted by jinns. Women are more prone to jinn possession than men because they are seen as weaker (Arch Museum Juju Exhibit, 2010). Though women are weaker and more likely to be possessed, jinns are more likely to reveal themselves to men. Evil jinns may tempt men by appearing to them in the form of an attractive woman. These appearances are tests and can result in misfortune if the man gives into the temptation. Babies are more likely to be targeted than older people. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, those in transitional states are more vulnerable and therefore more likely to be attacked. Witches, magic, and demons are all closely interconnected evil powers present in the African view of the universe and all fall under the category of witchcraft (International Humanist and Ethical Union, 2007). Witchcraft is the evil employment of mystical power, generally in a secret fashion. It can be used by people that have access to mystical power for destructive purposes. Magic can exist in both good and evil forms. Good magic is accepted and esteemed by most societies. Evil magic, otherwise known as black magic, bad magic, or sorcery, is the antisocial employment of mystical power. Demons are invisible beings that can eat the flesh of human beings. They are a part of human society; they do not come from anywhere.

!&" "

Beliefs of Non-Believers Though the practice of jujus is extremely widespread throughout Africa, not everyone believes in their power. While some may claim to trust in jujus 100%, others call them rubbish or uneducated beliefs. Generally, while provinces are home to abundant practice and belief in jujus, urban areas are where people tend to have a more Westernized view on the topic. In urban areas it was far more likely to find skeptics, non-believers, or those actively opposed to jujus. But what is it that caused these people not to believe? Also, how do they feel about those who do believe? Many doctors are against the practice of jujus because they feel that by relying on this traditional healing people are delaying the time before visiting a hospital and therefore making the illness worse in the process. If a person visits a marabout and is prescribed a juju, they will have to wait to see whether it works or not. In this time, they could be receiving care in a hospital. Yaharr Jallow, the owner of a preschool in Bakau, highlighted the importance of this concern when she explained that her preschool classes were putting on a play about the importance of considering Western medicine before going to a traditional healer. The play is about how a child goes to school and starts vomiting. The teachers at the school call the parents to come and pick up the child. The parents arrive and exclaim that a witch wants to hurt their child. So, instead of going to the hospital, they decided to take the child to a marabout. At the marabout they pay a lot of money to receive treatment, the child is sent home, but still remains very sick. The mother begins to cry and her neighbor friend comes up to her and informs her that she made the wrong decision to go to the marabout first. She said that the mother should have taken her child to the hospital to get tests instead of to the marabout. The mother listens and takes the child to the hospital and finally the child recovers from her illness.

!'" "

This play also highlights another belief of many others about jujus, that too many people are overconfident in their power. They feel that people are more likely to take risks and feel that they are protected from harm. Furthermore, many jujus do not actually contain scriptures from the Koran and the wearer may not even know because they do not know what is inside that juju. They often attribute peoples overconfidence to self-fulfilling prophecies. This means that they expect the juju to work so they actually look for evidence and use this evidence as proof of the jujus power. According to them, jujus are impossible to prove. They were compared to the belief in ghosts that exists in The United States. Another belief about jujus is that they are utilizing evil powers and therefore are evil in themselves. A man at the Arshifaa Medical Centre, a traditional healing center, stated that, Most of the marabouts are here to destroy. Sorcery is the work of the marabout; they will work for the jinn in order to get help from them. He claimed that marabouts do this work with jinns in order to make people like things they hate, or do things that they would never want to do. By doing this to people, they are taking away their right to make decisions. They believed that in the festivals demonstrating the power of jujus, it is not the jujus giving these people power, it is jinns and devils working through them. The most common response from non-believers about the use of jujus was that they are against God and Islam beliefs. Many feel that a juju is far too similar to an idol. This is the belief of the clergy in Mecca, who have banned jujus when visiting the holy city. The Muslim clergy there want them eradicated. People should not feel that the juju is giving them good fortune or protection, but that this power comes straight from God. If people believe more in the jujus, then they believe less in God. They may think that the jujus are protecting them, but Islam says that

!(" "

God is the only one that protects. In Islam it is against Gods will to say the juju protected you and not God. God is all powerful and his will should be followed . This was once phrased as, Anything that happens its because of God that it happens, so Ill let it be. By attempting to change Gods plans, one is practicing a sacrilegious belief. Instead of relying on a piece of paper, people should pray. If they are illiterate, they should go to the mosque and request an oral prayer. These are many of the beliefs expressed against the practice of jujus by non-believers in The Gambia. Discussion Throughout all of the information I have found in my research about jujus and their general practice, a question that has crossed my mind over and over again, is what is it that makes people feel that they need these charms? Based on my research I have come up with multiple educated theories to this question. The primary reasons I feel that people want jujus is because of dissatisfaction with Western hospital practices and to use as a means of protection from supernatural beings in the universe that are influencing their fates. The role of mystical beings in particular draws people to feel the need for jujus. This is the point that every source I found supported. Entering into a Western clinic is not as natural for Africans as it is for us as Americans, as many Gambians reported desiring to first received treatment from traditional healers, rather than by Western medicine. Part of traditional African belief is to visit traditional healers when ill. These healers will call upon God to heal, because he is the ultimate power in the universe. This

!)" "

religious aspect of the healers appeals to the strong religious aspect of African society. On the other hand, Western hospitals seem to act in a way that is disconnected with religion.

Figure 4. Sign Promoting Traditional Medicine Another common complaint about Western hospitals was the haphazard way that they care for their patients. Traditional healers were praised for their unique ability to individualize treatments, take their time in diagnoses, and have a deeper personal connection with their patients. I witnessed this individual treatment when visiting the marabout in Berefet. When my classmate Claire requested a juju for her mother for a specific type of pain throughout her body, the juju man spent close to fifteen minutes in silence, praying and flipping through his pages of Koranic scripture for a cure. He then spoke with Claire through a translator, made sure that he had the correct scripture by asking for greater detail, and told her that he would begin working as soon as she left him.

#+" "

On the contrary to this pleasant visit, visiting the Poly Clinic in Banjul was a chaotic, rushed, and impersonal environment. In a small room, around 15x15 feet, with people coming in and out, there were two nurses and one Cuban psychiatrist. In one session I witnessed, after around five minutes of touching and shallow questioning a man who had been brought in by the police for being a suspected lunatic, a diagnosis was made. Not only was the diagnosis made hastily, but, at least to me, it seemed to make no sense based on the mans condition and responses. Furthermore, the man was interrogated during the diagnostic exam about his origin and accused of being an illegal immigrant from Mali. He was diagnosed without further questioning, injected with some kind of medicine, given a prescription, and ultimately told that after he healed, he would be sent to immigration services and back to Mali. In situations like these, it does not seem surprising that one may choose traditional healing methods before Western hospitals/clinics. What seems to be the largest component of the desire to wear jujus is connected to African supernatural beliefs. Earlier I discussed the supernatural beings that played a role in the practice of jujus. Yet, what does the role of these spiritual beings reflect about African beliefs as a whole? The primary role that spiritual beings play is that they give cause for why things happen to people. In other words, they attempt to explain the unexplainable. As stated previously, Mbiti (1989) explains the belief is that nothing happens by chance, but instead everything is caused by mystical power. He also states, based on hierarchical power gradient related to age, that mystical power of spiritual beings is greater than any power a human could have. While some humans, such as marabouts, are thought to have the ability to tap into this power, it is not their own. This power is what the juju is said to possess through God; it is the power that is preventing mystical beings from causing bad things to happen. Without it, humans

#*" "

would be completely at the mercy of another. This is especially unfavorable when beings such as evil jinns, witches, and demons are thought to inhabit the world. It is human nature to want to feel in charge of your future and the events that life can throw your way. If people are made to believe that they have a role in fate, they are likely going to take that opportunity. Wearing a juju is doing just that. The greater power that mystical beings have over humans relates to the general practice that the older someone is the more power they have in African social society (Mbiti, 1989). Mbiti elaborates on this idea in African Religions and Philosophies. The belief is that the universe works in a hierarchical fashion, with God having the most, then jinns and other mystical beings, and then humans. When considering worldly beings, the older a person is and the higher his social status is, the more he is thought or expected to have access to mystical power, either in himself or through the possession of the objects in which it may be stored. The older a person is, the closer they are viewed to the status of higher mystical beings. It seems to make sense, given this information, that marabouts are particularly esteemed by those that believe in their power because it comes from a higher, and therefore more powerful, state of existence. In my interviews I found multiple people who felt that older marabouts were better than younger ones. This tendency for people to trust the older, more experienced marabouts more than their sons who take over their position may relate to the hierarchy of power discussed above. While the hierarchy of power in mystical beings and humans portrays something about African beliefs, it also provides an explanation for why people seek jujus for protection. The evil mystical beings in the universe cannot be controlled by human power. They are ubiquitous and travel in the wind (Mbiti, 1989). It is impossible to ignore the impact of such beings on the lives of every day Africans as every event from momentary misfortune to illness and even death are

#!" "

attributed directly to them. Therefore, charms that are believed to appeal to equal, or higher, power are used. God is the primary source of power in the universe, and it is from this source that jujus also take their power. When Muslims are illiterate and therefore struggle to read the Koran, they are still able to appeal to God in this fashion. This connection to God is comforting and reassuring for many. The belief that women are more prone to evil jinn possession than men portrays information about gender biases in African culture. It shows that women are seen as weaker than men. Furthermore, it is likely that behaviors in women that deviate from the cultural norm are blamed on jinn possession more often than they are in men. In my opinion, this may be because the role of men in society is less strict than it is for women. There are fewer expectations for them to act in a particular manner, they have more freedom, and therefore are not scrutinized as heavily for their behaviors or actions. I came to this conclusion based on my experiences when living in The Gambia and interacting with women and men there. The women were expected to work in the fields, collect all the food, go to the market, and cook without complaint. On the other hand, men were more likely to be found relaxing under the shade, joking around, and doing less physically demanding work. Women were oftentimes treated in a manner that suggested they were expected to act subserviently and in line with their daily roles. This belief that women are more prone to evil jinn possession may also be a result of stressful activities which may lead to symptoms associated with possession. Some examples of common stressful events for women I observed in the Gambia were lack of health services during physically straining times like pregnancy, child birth and rearing, and the strain on a mother with several kids. These times were highlighted by a doctor of the medical centre in Janjanburay. Women in The Gambia were expected to play the role of raising the children and

##" "

providing food for their families. In situations of poverty, more children can lead to greater stress. In order to find time to prepare each meal, which takes hours for each one, as well as tend to her children, a mother may be under greater stress than her husband. This stress may cause symptoms similar to those connected with jinn possession. Future Research For students in the future who would be interested in the study of jujus, there are many questions out there that have yet to be answered. Jujus are a fascinating subject because the beliefs surrounding them are not set in stone. Unlike many religious beliefs, there is not one book used as a guide for making jujus. Every marabout has a different book, with different verses. Every marabout also differs in what he/she recommends, how he believes he gets his powers, and in his/her general practice. It would be very interesting to compare and contrast methods that marabouts use in rural versus urban areas. Also, do marabout practices in making jujus differ greatly from tribe to tribe? Furthermore, there seems to be an interesting controversy between the historical belief in jujus and the Islamic view on the practice. Many people stated that Islamic clergy are attempting to eradicate the practice and that jujus are banned from Mecca. There is talk that they are too similar to idols and that they draw attention away from being committed to practicing like a devout Muslim. It would be interesting to explore the opinions of those in the Islamic church in comparison to those in the village. Also, how does each individual group feel about the other? While these are some ideas for future related research projects, it also may be helpful for those planning to study jujus to learn some advice I learned throughout my research. First, be careful to approach this research topic with the least skepticism possible. These are other

#$" "

peoples beliefs and no one likes to have them belittled or treated like superstition. Though this most likely would not be done maliciously, it is in the nature of Americans to question things unproven by science. Second, step outside of your comfort zone. I recommend asking questions that may make you feel kind of naive. For example, I often asked, What is witchcraft? or Where do spirits live? While these are not questions people would necessarily talk about in America, they are not out of place in African culture. Keep in mind that you are not in the society that you grew up in and in many African societies the world will be viewed in a way very foreign you. Even if you think that you know what these things are, ask anyway, and have them defined by a member of the society you are exploring. Do not be quick to reject this type of thinking, but instead attempt to immerse yourself into it. This will allow you to better understand people that you interview, as well as your topic. Third, actively show that you are attempting to immerse yourself in the native culture. This will cause the natives to respect you and trust you more. It will pave the way for more conversation in greater detail. Some ways to do this are by working with families, learning the language (as well as you can), practicing proper etiquette, and being open to conversation with strangers. Greetings, a combination of language and etiquette knowledge, are centrally important in The Gambia. The ability to greet a Gambian in his/her native language and go through the ritual greetings practiced so often was truly is the most effective ice breaker in my opinion. It shows effort, interest, and an attempt to see things from an emic point of view. You are valuing Gambian values. This will open many doors and opportunities wherever you choose to study.

#%" "

Acknowledgements I want to say a special thank you to all of the absolutely amazing people that helped me with this research project. First of all, to my psychology professor, Debbie ODonnell, for accompanying me to numerous interviews, helping me make connections with new people, set up meetings, and overall increasing the depth of my understanding of both psychology and Gambian culture. Also, for supporting us all throughout times of culture-shock in The Gambia and motivating us to keep researching in the midst of taking in our new environment. I would also like to thank the creator and coordinator of the program, Bill Roberts. Then, of course, I am greatly thankful towards the countless Gambians I met along my trip that helped me in so many ways.

#&" "

References Alexander, Dein, & Napier (2008). Jinn, psychiatry and contested notions of misfortune among east london bangladeshis. Transcultural Psychiatry, 45(1). Angrosino, M. (2007). Doing Cultural Anthropology (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc. Arshifaa Medical Centre. Brikama, The Gambia: 01 July 2010. Beaks. Banjul, The Gambia: 06 July 2010. Camara, Omar. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 17 June 2010. International Humanist and Ethical Union (2007). Superstition and witchcraft in africa. Retrieved from http://www.iheu.org/node/2856 Jabbie, Kabba. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 14 June 2010. Jallow, Yaharr. Yaharrs Preschool, Bakau, The Gambia: 01 July 2010. Jibba-Manjako, Lamin. Bakau, The Gambia: 18 June 2010. Juju Museum Exhibit (June & July 2010). Arch Museum. Banjul, The Gambia. Kassama, Binta. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 15 June 2010. Keita, Lamin. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 17 June 2010. Marabout. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 06 June 2010.

#'" "

Mbiti, J. S. (1989). African religions and philosophy. Jordan Hill, Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers. Nurses. Poly Clinic, Banjul, The Gambia: 29 June 2010. Sambou, Ishmaila. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 15 June 2010. Sanyang, Omar. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 14 June 2010. Sidibeh. Traditional Healing Day, Banjul, The Gambia: July 2010. Sillah, Baboucarr. Banjul, The Gambia: 02 July 2010. Thayer, J. (1983). Nature, culture, and the supernatural among the susu. American Anthropological Association, 10(1), pg. 116-132. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/644707 Yarbo, Lamin. Jom Bong Ban Tang Cultural Camp Ecco, Berefet, The Gambia: 10 June 2010.