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
Geoffrey Jabwara Giddings
Obeah, also and better known as the Comfa religion, is practiced by an undetermined number of African descendants in Guyana, South America, regions of the Caribbean, and the southern United States. Grounded in primarily Bantu cosmology, Comfa is expressive of the Guyanese history of enslavement, European colonialism, and African cultural nationalism. Popularly synonymous with Comfa is the word Obeah , used mainly by non-practitioners. The word Obeah derives from the Twi concept obey e , which means that which can do work but is not seen. Still some nonpractition-ers become Obeah clients in search of perhaps their only access to immediate power over life's many difficulties and traumas. One might be heard exclaiming: “Is wuk, she wuk Obeah fa mek dah man stay home with she.” Understandably, then, linguist Kean Gibson assesses the foundation of this African-derived religion as “[t]he use of identity symbols as sources of motivation and Unlike ...