Trends in the Practice of Indigenous Supernatural Powers among the Agiriama of Kilifi County, Kenya: 1840-2000

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Ojwang’, Florence Achieng’
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Kenyatta University
This study focused on the changing trends in the practice of indigenous supernatural powers among the Agiriama of Kilifi County along the Kenyan Coast. The study was informed by evidence of evolving nature in the practice and control of supernatural powers among the Agiriama. The study was guided by the following objectives: to describe elements of indigenous Giriama supernatural powers by 1840, to analyze the encounter between indigenous Giriama supernatural beliefs and western culture from c.1840 to c.1960, and to explain radical politicization and commercialization of supernatural powers among the Giriama, and the violent tendency in the eradication of witchcraft from c.1960 to c.2000. The study adopted symbolic interactionism theory to explain the symbolic meaning given to the practice of supernatural powers by the community in each phase of symbolic interaction. Regarding methodology, the descriptive research design was adopted while data was collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary field data was collected through the aid of interview guides. A sample population comprising of Kaya elders, male youths, local administrators, murika women, a practicing medicine woman and clan elders was involved in the study. Data analysis was done qualitatively using explanations based on the set objectives of the study. Lastly, the expected outcome of the study as drawn from the analyzed data, led to conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further research on the changing trends in the practice of indigenous supernatural powers among the Agiriama community along the Kenyan coast. This study is a historical investigation of the process of cultural interaction and appropriation. It focuses on the impact of the encounter between western culture and Agiriama supernatural beliefs through the symbolic and historical phases of interaction.
A Research Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfilment for the Requirements of the Award of Master of Arts History in The School of Humanities and Social Sciences of Kenyatta University
Practice of Indigenous Supernatural Powers, Agiriama, Kilifi County, Kenya