Tracing African Roots: Witchcraft is real, confront it

THERE are different types of witches. These different witches also have different modes of communication involving goblins, birds, animals and others.

Sekuru Friday Chisanyu

There are local and international witches and this also include their protocol of seniority in their practice of witchcraft. Witches have got different technologies of entering into the graves, houses among other places.

They eat human flesh after death or suck blood while a person is alive, including the process of killing by causing illness or mysterious death.

Witches change their images when conducting their services. They can even fly from one place to another.

But during the day they look like all other people. A person can willingly become a witch as an adult by seeking such medicines or be recruited without their permission or acknowledgement. There are also evil spirits which posses a person and that person will automatically become a witch whether he or she likes it or not.

A person can take control over a community, church, leadership position or their property by being a witch. Some witches are caught when they break the rules and regulations given to them by their seniors or if they encounter powerful medicine and prayers by traditional medical practitioners.

In Zimbabwe, witchcraft includes the use of harmful medicines, charms and magic; and any other means or devices that cause illness, misfortune or death to people, animals and/or property. All this is possible.

Thus by denying the existence of witches, the Christian church lost an opportunity to remove evil from society.

Many witches have remained active members of the church in Zimbabwe. The suggestion by the churches that the only solution to the problem of witchcraft is the abandonment by people of their beliefs in witches and witchcraft makes no sense. There are public health problems among people caused by witches, which can only be solved or treated by traditional medical practitioners.

Witches, social agents and spirits convergence are mostly dealt with by the traditional medical practitioners using traditional medicines or other means. Traditional medical practitioners can remove things from the human body which could have been inserted through witchcraft means. Witches can cause bad luck,ladies not to be married or even business destruction.

Witches exist all over the world.

Witchcraft is a subject which has created a lot of controversy here and in many other countries. The first point to make is that the African religion does not encourage the belief in witchcraft, it merely accepts the fact that witches exist in society and in fact they do exist.

Witchcraft is not a myth.

Some people in our community practice witchcraft. These witches are regarded as sinners and it is the duty of religious leaders to discourage the practice of witchcraft.

In dealing with witchcraft two important aspects need to be borne in mind; the social or religious aspect and the legal aspect. Many people who accuse others of witchcraft are not seeking a legal ruling on the matter.

Witchcraft is the paradigm of all evil and anti-social behaviour. When a Ndebele or Shona person accuses another person of witchcraft, he may be saying that the accused is a trouble-maker, that he is a bad person, a deviant who ought to be helped to reform and conform.

The accuser may well be right.

Those who accuse one another of witchcraft are people who ought to like each other but in fact do not. There is tension between them. Thus, the accusation may be means of expression of social strains and tension or a means of social control.

These are religious and social issues. But there are real issues as well.

The reality and existence of witches has been questioned by many missionaries particularly from Europe because of ideas they inherited from eighteenth – century Europe.

Many Europeans have accepted the doctrine of the unreality of witches. This doctrine developed in Europe mainly because of the inhuman treatment inflicted upon persons accused of witchcraft. Certain types of witchcraft were practiced in Europe.

The present Christian attitude to witchcraft should, therefore, be considered as a reaction against the untold suffering and brutal treatment meted out to witches or people suspected of witchcraft in Europe.

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  • Sekuru Friday, can you confirm that, in the history of Zimbabwean murder investigations, there has ever been found a cadaver that shows evidence of being the victim of cannibalism? Surely that would offer clear proof that there are people who eat human flesh in Zimbabwean society?

    Can you also explain how the phenomenon known as “madzikirira” in ChiShona, and “Sleep- paralysis” in modern medicine is interpreted in modern western mythology in terms of “alien abduction”?