Belief in Witchcraft, A Destructive Phenomenon to Africa Homes. Vol. 3, No. 18

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It could be vividly observed without doubt that witchcraft accusation has led to the breakdown of marriages, biological condemnation and denial of grandmothers, aunts and even mothers, hatred among brothers and sisters of extended families. (sometimes nuclear family), and consequentially, destruction of African sense of communal life.


Witchcraft has constituted on irreconcilable problem in Africa. The average African child grows with the fear of existence of witchcraft rather than its non-existence, its limited powers rather than its powerlessness, its supernatural manifestation rather than its fetish acts. As a result of this, every African irrespective of one’s academic or spiritual levels lends credence to the horrible experience of witchcraft either explicitly or implicitly. This conscious or unconscious development in the belief of witchcraft has rendered us helplessly to continually live in fear, intimidation, mental torture and spiritual insecurity. Although we claim to believe in the divinity, but then, we overemphasize the presence of Satan more than God’s omnipotence. In as much as our world-view graduates beyond a mere religious phenomenon to the quest for spiritual powers, it is obvious that our highest achievement in life is nothing more than the acquisition and usage of spiritual power for good and evil.
Well, I do not intend to dismiss every belief in witchcraft as a mere superstition. Besides, Africans are specialists in the manipulation and control of cosmic forces. J. S. Mbiti; an African philosopher confined this when he said: “There is mystical power which causes people to walk on fire, to lie on thorns or nails, to send curses or harm, including death from distances to change into animals (Lycanthropy) to spit on snakes and cause them to split open and die; power to stupefy thieves so that they can be caught red handed; power to make inanimate objects turn into biologically living creatures…”
Indications therefore emerge that belief in witchcraft in Africa is a reality. In Africa today, belief in the revealing powers of soothsayers and diviners has been Christianized. So many diviners like necromancers, psalmists, numerologists, horoscopists, geomancers and hydromancers, have sprung up in the name of thaumaturgists (Miracle Workers). They teach that preternatural forces such as witchcraft, Juju, occultism, charms, spiritual poisoning, spiritual ‘remote control’, and black magic are responsible for evil and suffering in Africa. They claim to smell out witches who have cast spells on persons and even families/communities. Thereby causing confusion and misunderstanding among siblings.
But something interestingly mysterious here is that some people attest most convincingly that they are victims of witchcraft while some confess that they are witches. Lending credence to these attestations and complications, (In Edo state where I grew up, no indigene doubts its existence) of facts which have caused more harm than good to many families both Christians and non-Christian homes, tecsthought has chosen this month for a serious deliberation.

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