West African Plants and Prayers in the Netherlands: Nourishment Through Visible and Invisible Substances

  • Amber Gemmeke
Part of the Anthropology, Change, and Development book series (ACD)


This chapter explores how transnational connections between West Africa and Europe are created, emphasised and maintained through the transference of visible and invisible “esoteric substances” such as medicinal plants, animal products, prayers and spells. It focuses on the importance of marabouts, or Sufi Islamic experts, in providing these linkages between West Africans in the Netherlands and their country of origin. By taking esoteric practices as a starting point, this chapter thus explores transnationalism in the intimate, private sphere of personal well-being, protection and empowerment. By addressing specifically Muslim, francophone West African migrants in the Netherlands, this chapter furthermore analyses ways in which visible and invisible connections to a “homeland” matter to migrants who form a small minority in their host country.


Plants Healing Marabouts West Africa The Netherlands 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amber Gemmeke
    • 1
  1. 1.Bayreuth UniversityBayreuthGermany

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