International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305


Influence, insecurities and evil: The political and economic context of witchcraft-related crime in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Theodore Petrus
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 March 2012
  •  Published: 30 June 2012



This article explores the political and economic context of witchcraft-related crime in South Africa, with specific reference to the Eastern Cape Province. The article examines how political and economic influence, and the factors that determine who has access to such influence, can impact on perceptions of ‘spiritual insecurity’ in African communities. Often such perceptions and insecurities are expressed in occult terms. The article argues that witchcraft-related crime is a manifestation of such expressions of political and economic insecurities, as it does not occur in a vacuum but can be located in a political and economic context. The arguments raised in the article are based on the author’s critical engagement with relevant literature, including his ethnographic study of witchcraft-related crime in the Eastern Cape.


Key words: Witchcraft-related crime, political and economic context, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.