May 6, 1989: Vera Buhrmann

Workshop: The power of witchcraft beliefs and the consequences of these will be illuminated by extracts from court proceedings and vignettes from cases charged with murder.

The universality and archetypal mixture of witchcraft beliefs as it operates in the human psyche will be discussed and demonstrated by clinical cases who are sufficiently disturbed to be admitted to mental hospitals. The difficulty in distinguishing between what is pathological and what is culturally acceptable will be explored.

 

M. Vera Buhrmann was born in South Africa. She had varied medical experience before training as a psychiatrist and as an analyst at the Jung Institute in London. She settled in Cape Town as a practicing analyst in 1959 and is still attached to the psychiatric department, Groote Schurr Hospital, Cape Town. She did psychological and anthropological research for 13 years until 1985, studying intensively the Xhoisa Healers, their beliefs and methods. She has published widely in journals and congressional proceedings.

Witchcraft and Witchcraft Beliefs