Black Hamlet by Wulf Sachs
Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 1947. Hardcover. 324 pages ; 21 cm. In original dust jacket with a few tears around the dust jacket edges. Pages are unmarked and binding are firm.
BLACK HAMLET by Wulf Sachs
This is the true story of John Chavafambira. It is a unique, never-before-written account of a native African medicine man, his life experiences and inner conflicts, drawn against the background of two worlds—white and black—in collision. This amazing study of seemingly irreconcilable elements is laid in South Africa, where the clash of color is most violent. The artistry of the book lies partly in its contrast of primitive taboo and Christian ethic; of communal kraal life and the mechanized slavery of cities; of hereditary practitioner and highly trained physician.
Wulf Sachs became acquainted with John Chavafambira by merest chance and spent many years studying his personality as both patient and friend. John was a medicine man (misnamed witch doctor) who left his village (kraal) to come to Johannesburg. His father's spirit had told him he was too young to practice, but the poverty, pain and degradation of his people in the city were too much for him and he took up again the ritual and the amazing psychological treatment his father had taught him. Then many strange and unusual things occurred in the eerie world where the medicine man rolled the bones to learn the wishes of the forebears; in the shameful, frightening Swartyard where John lived with his wife, the Zulu girl Maggie.
Through Dr. Sachs's keen and sympathetic observation, John has emerged as a human being of dignity, intelligence and understanding, a challenge to the white world that rules him. It is the story of a man, to be read by all who yearn for better understanding of their fellow men.
Dr. Wulf Sachs is a citizen of the Union of South Africa, residing in Johannesburg. He was born in Russia and took his M.D. at the Psychoneurological Institute in Leningrad. He also has German, English and South African degrees. He is a practicing psychoanalyst as well as a doctor of medicine, a member of the British and International Psychoanalytical Societies and President of the South African Psychoanalytical Society.
In addition to his medical work, Dr. Sachs is a writer. He has been engaged in journalism ever since 1914 when he became connected with Petrograd papers, and is now editor and publisher of a fortnightly South African review, The Democrat. Besides BLACK HAMLET his books include PSYCHOANALYSIS AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS, THE INSANE AFRICAN, PSYCHOLOGY OF NATIONALISM, and critical studies of Dostoevski, Wassermann, Proust, Hamlet, and John Steinbeck.
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