November 6th, 2011

The BBC recently held an open discussion on witchcraft and its relevance in Africa. Here are a few of the more salient comments, both positive and negative:

The Good:

“Among the Banyores of western Kenya, we have got a group of old men who can make rainfall!”

“I have seen truly sick Zambians get back on their feet after a visit from the local witchdoctor, or rather traditional healer, a term I prefer.”

“In Egypt, we heard tales of witchcraft from Egyptian clubs going to away games in African competitions.”

“Witchcraft is many things to many people, but in its purest form it embodies an intimacy with the subtle vitality of Life and the methodology that allows the witch to manipulate reality and effect change. It is a practice like any other and therefore it can be wielded to both hinder and to help.”

“Witchcraft is very very strong, more than 90%.”

“There is no witchcraft in Africa. There is African Science, which the West has not understood, and instead considers it witchcraft. This should end the discussion.”

“Witchcraft is still alive in Africa. Here in Malawi there are two districts where people have advanced in witchcraft. These people can travel from Malawi to USA in seconds. They can tell you to close your eyes for two minutes and after that they tell you to open your eyes and seriously you find yourself in New York, imagine.”

“Witchcraft is absolutely vital in African society. It shapes our norms, values and tradition. We should not allow the negative effect of witchcraft and forget the enormous positive ones. This is a tradition of our back ground and no-one should shy away from it because negativity of it has been echoed in London or other parts of the world.”

The Bad:

“These guys exist and one shouldn’t underestimate their capabilities. Most influential people in our society visit witches in darkness or during the wee hours for consultation or treatment.”

“We are mourning the death of our four-year-old’s beloved pre-school teacher who suddenly died, apparently after taking some ‘muti’ (medication) dispensed to her by some ‘visitors’ from her rural home.”

“Everybody I know in Togo believes in ‘mammy water’, the mythological sea serpent. After dark it is impossible to get anybody to go near the beach.”

“In Zimbabwe the only person immune from witches it seems is the president himself, and that is because he can afford stronger portions from all over Africa. In South Africa are the most feared witches. In Botswana the witches are there but they are not that skilled. In Zambia and Malawi you can easily be murdered in the night by witches.”

“Others are cruel such that they look for the spirit of witchcraft because they are jealous, lazy and counterproductive. I know of a maid who used to work for us. My mum was the one who had found her but my grandmother always confided in me that she did not like her. She said that she was never comfortable in her presence, and concluded that she was a witch.

She left a year later after she got married. However, when she had a baby, both the baby and the husband mysteriously died. The husband’s family was puzzled and they consulted a traditional healer who told them that it was the wife who killed their son and grandchild. She later confessed that she was a witch and that the allegations were true. Her grandmother confirmed it saying that the spirit of witchcraft that was resident in the family is now on her.”

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 6th, 2011 at 3:33 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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