Witchcraft And Freethinking

Via Sahara Reporters (and on Facebook), which describes itself as:

an outstanding, groundbreaking website that encourages citizen journalists to report ongoing corruption and government malfeasance in Africa.

comes this nice, short article by Leo Igwe on witchcraft accusations and freethought in Africa. Covered in the piece are descriptions of “witch camps”, areas where those accused of devilry are sent out to live, and something of which I wasn’t aware (but see here for some photos by Jane Hahn). I suppose I’d always assumed that where such accusations still thrived the penalty was usually more severe than simple banishment.

Witch Doctor by Rachel Cobcroft - cc-by-nc-sa

Northern Ghana is a region of gods, of dogmatic belief in gods. Apart from the gods of christianity and islam, there are innumerable other so called local or smaller gods. Some local priests and soothsayers ‘consult’ these gods. They are actually the mouthpiece of these gods. These local priests and soothsayers often under the influence of a local gin called Akpateshi or Pito, communicate god’s messages to the people including pointing out who is responsible for death and diseases in families and communities.

Quite amazing and often nasty the sorts of things your local god will say to you after you’ve been drinking!

A good article and some good comments; I particularly like the suggestion by Emeka K Duru to slaughter multiple chickens during innocent/guilt divinations as well as a control chicken against someone definitely innocent like, for example, the priest’s child. Worth a read.

Author: Mark

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