Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Occult Sex as a Conversational Resource

  • Author(s): Daly Thompson, Katrina
  • et al.

Since at least the mid 1960s, people on the islands of Zanzibar have talked about being attacked by a creature called Popobawa, “batwing,” who is variously thought of as a djinn, spirit, demon, beast, monster, or an embodied form of witchcraft. Unlike most Zanzibari spirits, Popobawa does not possess people nor form long term relationships with them, but rather sexually assaults them and leaves them to tell their story to others, sometimes even demanding that they do so. Too, unlike majini ya mahaba, “love spirits,” who typically possess and have sexual intercourse with humans of the opposite gender, Popobawa tends to prefer male victims. Reoccurring periodically since the 1960s, Popobawa attacks are shrouded by mystery and speculation and thus are a popular subject for conversation and gossip.

Main Content
Current View