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White Woman Witchdoctor: Tales of the African Life of Rae Graham

McCallum, Taffy

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ISBN 10: 0963372181 / ISBN 13: 9780963372185
Published by Miami, Florida, U.S.A.: Amagi/Fielden Books, 1993
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

A fine hard cover copy in a fine jacket/brodart covered. First Edition. SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR AND SIGNED BY RAE GRAHAM/INSCRIBED. A very copy. = WE BOX AND SHIP ALL BOOKS WITH USPS TRACKING. = WE HAVE BEEN BUYING AND SELLING USED BOOKS FOR OVER 35 YEARS. Bookseller Inventory # 003042B

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Bibliographic Details

Title: White Woman Witchdoctor: Tales of the ...

Publisher: Miami, Florida, U.S.A.: Amagi/Fielden Books

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Rae Graham's life as a witchdoctor is far removed from her other life as a Johannesburg city councillor and even farther from Bristol, England, where she was born. Rae grew up "on the wrong side of the railway line" but gained her chance in life by becoming a nurse in wartime England, rising to become the youngest Head of Hospital in the country and the first person to administer the new drug penicillin.
Along the way, Rae met a South African soldier studying at Oxford. In spite of objections from his very proper mother, Cecil Graham married the young nurse and took her home to Johannesburg. From there the couple was sent off to run the family's trading station in Sibasa, capital of the traditional homeland of the Venda tribe.
Adjusting to life with neither electricity nor plumbing but with plenty of snakes, scorpions, and tropical diseases, Rae Graham established herself as a friend of the Venda. She was the only Western-trained medical person in the village, but she quickly came to know and appreciate the native herbalists and witchdoctors in the area. When the Grahams relocated to another family trading post in Bechuanaland (later Botswana) ten years later, Rae ventured into the Kalahari Desert where she gained a close understanding of the Bushmen.
Once back in Johannesburg, Rae determined to become a witchdoctor herself. After initial strong resistance, she was accepted for a rigorous ten-year apprenticeship with a witchdoctor teacher. She was instructed in the traditional manner without accommodation for her color, gender, or native culture. Ultimately she gained the knowledge and acceptance to practice the wise and ancient craft.
Rae Graham is often called "the blackest white in South Africa" as her understanding of and relations with the country's ten black tribes are truly extraordinary.

From Publishers Weekly:

Trained as a nurse in her native England, Graham married in 1948 and followed her new husband home to an unusual life in South Africa. Her tales, as recorded by McCallum (South Africa: Land of Hope), first dally on the mundane, then tell of life among the Venda people at a trading station in rural South Africa. Slowly Graham learns about her neighbors: an attempt to exchange Christmas cards is unsuccessful, while collecting musical instruments gains her entry into their ceremonies. When her family moves to neighboring Botswana, Graham travels in the desert to observe the Bushmen. In Johannesburg, she studies to be a witch doctor, and offers a tolerant view of such traditional healing. However, her first-person stories often lack context. Also, while blacks may call Graham The Bridge because of her knowledge of their lives, she displays an obtuseness about racial issues, regularly using the term piceanin and declaring, inaccurately, that the spurious homeland of Venda chose to become independent of South Africa in 1979. Photos not seen by PW
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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