chapter  5
11 Pages

Womba

The Yagwoia (cannibal) complex
WithJadran Mimica

Womba is a malignant condition of the soul which could be easily identified as “witchcraft”, that in recent years has received much coverage in international media and anthropological journals. Among the Yagwoia-Angan people of Papua New Guinea this condition has peculiar characteristics, with no lethal consequences for a person recognised as a womba. The term subsumes the experience, its power, the ensuing soul-condition and transformation, and the person subject to it. Accordingly, under the label of the “womba complex” I explore its local cultural-existential determinations within a framework of phenomenological psychoanalysis.