Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
Mediums are individuals, most often females, who become possessed with powerful spirits that give them the ability to cleanse the land, make rain, cure illnesses, and eliminate incest from a community. They may function as priests or priestesses who are the caretakers of the spirit. Men or women might be chosen, often by divine intervention, to be mediums for either male or female spirits. There is no firm gender rule as to how mediums are selected in a society. Although this practice reaches back to ancient Kernet, it is still found in numerous communities in contemporary Africa. Many mediums become famous for their ability to channel the spirit's energy and power for the absolute protection of their communities. This has been demonstrated in the lives of mediums who lived in southern Africa during the past two centuries. Among the Shona of Zimbabwe, for instance, the great spirit is mbondoro , ...