The Grandpa’s Cup: A Tanzanian healing ritual as a temporary interreligious platform

  • Mika Vähäkangas Lund University

Abstract

This article examines the elements of ritual practice that contribute to the interreligious appeal of a specific healing practice, with the goal of identifying elements of interreligiosity more generally. The Reverend Ambilikile Mwasapila, aka Babu wa Loliondo, was for a brief space of time the most popular healer in Tanzania, attracting vast crowds to his remote village of Samunge. His healing became interreligiously acceptable because of its remarkable blend of openness and rootedness. While, as a retired Lutheran pastor, Babu was clearly a Christian, he welcomed everyone to partake of the medicine he offered with no preconditions. Furthermore, the herb that was the main ingredient in his treatment was well-known in traditional medicine but at the same time allegedly a divine revelation, making it widely acceptable to many. The ministry itself was also open-ended in the sense that even though Babu obviously performed the healing within the framework of religious ritual, whether to frame or interpret it as such was left to the patient.

How to Cite
Vähäkangas, M. (2017). The Grandpa’s Cup: A Tanzanian healing ritual as a temporary interreligious platform. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 41(4), 14-28. Retrieved from https://journal.fi/suomenantropologi/article/view/63061