Born in the caul, born in the rain: Damara and Nama people with extrasensory abilities in Namibia

Authors

  • Sigrid Schmidt

Abstract

In the Namibian world view, ‘ordinary’ people may receive supernormal abilities because of special conditions at the time of their birth. A birth in the caul may give outstanding cleverness, provided the caul is treated properly; alternatively, as in Afrikaans folk belief, it may give the depressing ‘second sight’. A birth in the rain brings the person into a close relationship with the rain so that they will be able to influence the rain. Likewise, a birth during other weather phenomena, for example, a storm, thunderstorm, or cold weather, will relate the person to these phenomena. Because twins are born on the same day they have the ability to calm heavy thunderstorms. Contact with supernatural forces is achieved via fire: either by burning some of one’s hair or by urinating into the fire. There are no strict rules for these ceremonies, some people ‘just try’. Influences from neighbouring peoples and two hundred years of Christianity can be observed. At the base of this network of weather phenomena, there seem to be more or less personified deities of which, however, there are only vague traces.

KEY WORDS: supernatural abilities, birth, caul, weather phenomena, rain, Nama, Damara, twins, ancient deities.

Published

2020-12-22

How to Cite

Schmidt, S. (2020). Born in the caul, born in the rain: Damara and Nama people with extrasensory abilities in Namibia. Southern African Humanities, 33, 119-132. Retrieved from https://sahumanities.org/index.php/sah/article/view/461

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