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Table 2 Perceived aetiology of locally defined conditions in four African settings

From: Madness or sadness? Local concepts of mental illness in four conflict-affected African communities

  Supernatural Natural Psychosocial
Kwajena (South Sudan)    
Moul Spirits of dead people (cien) Malaria Thinking too much
Malevolent spirits (djok, arop) Meningitis Loss of properties and loved ones due to the war
Violating a taboo   
Being cursed   
Wehie Arir ‘Perhaps somebody is behind your misfortune’ (indicating sorcery or witchcraft)   Having lost children or property
Nger yec    Recent loss (of a person or property)
Yei (South Sudan)    
Mamali Being bewitched Cannabis Yeyeesi (‘thinking too much’)
Attack by spirits from water or forest (a’bionga or dulako) Alcohol ‘Too many problems’
  Brain damage Family disputes
  Typhoid fever  
  Born this way  
Ngengere Being bewitched Drugs  
Yeyeesi    Loss of beloved person
   Loss of property
   State of poverty
   Family disputes
Butembo (DRC)    
Erisire Bad spirits (virumu) Cerebral malaria Death of a loved one
Scorcery ( by a mukumu – traditional healer) Epilepsy Being rejected in love
Bad spell (lirengo) Drugs  
Alluhire    Worrying about problems
   Family problems
   Death of loved ones
Kibuye (Burundi)    
Ibisazi Sorcery Malaria Ibonge (see below)
Angry ancestor spirits Fall on head in accident Having lost belongings
Bad spirits Change in the blood Seen too many bad things in the war
Ibonge    Death of a loved one
   Loss of property
   Loss of livelihood
   Having witnessed atrocities during the war
   Worrying about bad health
Ihahamuka    Having witnessed terrible things in war
   Having been raped
   Car accident