This article presents a case of diachronic ethnography. It examines quests for therapy among the Madi people of northern Uganda. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in and around the small trading centre of Laropi; originally in the late 1980s and again in 2008. Particularly important in recent years has been the increasing availability and accessibility of biomedicine, which the population have embraced and indigenized as a mark of progress and political recognition.

On the face of it, this has rendered recourse to more “traditional” forms of healing obsolete. However, as we describe, the situation is more ambiguous. Notions of witchcraft, spirit possession and ancestor veneration are more pervasive than they might seem.