On 15 January 2018 Johanneke Kamps will defend her PhD thesis in the University Hall. Her thesis deals with persuasiveness of contemporary narratives about Satanism in Zambia.
Speak of the devil, and he appears
According to an old English proverb, ‘Speak of the devil, and he appears.’ In contemporary Zambia, many people are speaking about Satan and Satanists. Satanism refers in Zambia to a supposed organization, headed by Satan, dedicated to bring evil and harm, especially to Christians. Ex-Satanists claim and/or experience a previous allegiance to this organization. Narratives about Satanism generally speak of sacrifices being made to Satan, often executed through road accidents, illnesses or spiritual means. These narratives are persuasive: they are spread and taken seriously. For some they are reason to see themselves or others as possible Satanists, in other cases they trigger violent reactions. This dissertation investigates what factors contribute to the persuasiveness of contemporary narratives about Satanism.