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Accept: It is evident, in discussing oaths with… | re/touch: an encyclopædia of touch and culture

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It is evident, in discussing oaths with Tiv, that they see all oathtaking in accordance with the same set of ideas as they see ordeals. Taking an oath on the akombo iwa or the akombo igbe is ‘touching’ (bende) this fetish. If you lie on oath, you have ‘pierced’ (pev) the fetish. Both words are used when one has fallen foul of a fetish—the notion of ‘touching’ is usually passive, indicating no blame attaching to the victim, while the notion of ‘piercing’ usually does assume such blame, more or less strongly, and hence might be translated as ‘transgression’ of an akombo.

  • Source: Bohannan, Paul. Justice and judgment among the Tiv. London, New York: Published for the International African Institute by the Oxford University Press, 1968.
  • Culture: Tiv
  • Location: Africa