Sorcery is a fact of life in many African societies; the supernatural is taken for granted. In SORCERERS AND ORANGE PEEL, author Ian Mathie describes how this other dimension plays a role - somethings amusing, sometimes frightening, always intriguing - in everyday life in West Africa. When Ian came across an elderly couple, sick and abandoned in inhospitable countryside, he ignored the warning signs of witchcraft and frightening encounters with an apparition to coax them back to health. Thus began a remarkable association with one small and remote village whose subsistence living Ian was able to help boost with the unlikely intervention of a Paris parfumier, a Poro devil, assorted helpers - and a native soap industry. Along the way, he was initiated by a village sorcerer and adopted by a family whose water supply he cleaned up. During his years in Africa as a water resources specialist, Ian Mathie experienced much that challenges Western beliefs and perceptions. SORCERERS AND ORANGE PEEL - the fifth book in the African Memoir Series - is an eventful journey through the haze where science meets superstition.
"To some it may seem fanciful, even impossible," Ian writes, "but having lived through it, I assure you it is all true."
Ian Mathie spent his childhood and early school years in Africa. After a short service commission in the RAF, he returned to the continent as a rural development officer working for the British government and a number of other agencies. His work in water resources and related projects during the 1970s brought him into close contact with the African people, their cultures and varied tribal customs, many of which are now all but lost. These experiences, recorded in his notebooks, are the inspiration for a series of African memoirs, of which Sorcerers and Orange Peel is the fifth volume. Ian continued to visit Africa until health considerations curtailed his travelling. He now lives in south Warwickshire with his wife and dog.
List of illustrations and maps Author's note PART 1: A BAD DAY FOR DYING Ch. 1 Breakdown Ch. 2 The dying house Ch. 3 Round 1 to the anthill Ch. 4 Night chorus Ch. 5 A victory of sorts Ch. 6 Recovery and collapse Ch. 7 Exploration and discovery Ch. 8 Bush mechanics Ch. 9 Contact Ch. 10 Up and running Ch. 11 Reprieved and restored Ch. 12 Moving on Ch. 13 Back to work PART 2: PART-TIME PENTECOSTALISTS Ch. 14 The laundry ladies Ch. 15 Scented soap Ch. 16 A very joyful wedding Ch. 17 One of the family Ch. 18 Clean water PART 3: DEAL WITH A DEVIL Ch. 19 Improvisation Ch. 20 Searching for spirits Ch. 21 Divination and trial Ch. 22 A French connection Ch. 23 Fresh scent Ch. 24 Essence of orange Ch. 25 Expert in the orchards Ch. 26 Growing enterprise Ch. 27 Economics Ch. 28 Sweetness of honey Ch. 29 The cost of success Ch. 30 Denouement Glossary Acknowledgements