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Abstract

Witchcraft accusations have led to the killings of elderly women in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. For many years, the violence has had major effects on people’s health. Witchcraft accusations have been the source of people’s loss of limbs and deaths among elderly women in Africa. Although these problems have had effects on elderly women, there has been very little reconstruction of their history in Tanzania. Thus, the aim of this article is to rewrite the history of the vulnerability of the elderly women to witchcraft accusations among the Fipa of Sumbawanga district of Tanzania.

This article focuses on the theme of the vulnerability of elderly women to witchcraft accusations in the context of Tanzanian women’s history. The article examines conditions that led to the vulnerability of elderly women to witchcraft accusations among the Fipa. It also investigates the efficacy of the methods employed by the Tanzanian government in the suppression of witchcraft accusations in Sumbawanga.

The data for this article were collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary data were accessed at the library of the University of Dar es Salaam, where Tanganyika Provincial Commissioners’ Reports were gathered. Other primary sources were accessed at Tanganyika National Archive, where files and letters written by officials were consulted. I also obtained data through the use of interview. I interviewed government officials, missionaries and ordinary people who served in Sumbawanga district. These people had a lot of experience with the vulnerability of elderly women to witchcraft accusations in the area over time.

Note on the Author

Hamisi Mathias Machangu was born in 1968 in Tanzania and was schooled in Tanzania up to the level of Masters Degree in History at the University of Dar es Salaam. In 2012, I started my PhD studies at the University of Dar es Salaam. From 2006 to date, I have been working as an Assistant Lecturer in the History Department at Dar es Salaam University College of Education.

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