The curiosity and the question of witchcraft is not longer used to justify the unexplainable abnormalities to most areas of the modern world due to the research, science and natural explanations behind these misfortunes that occur.
In Africa however, this is not the case. The belief in the existence of witches and witchcraft still strongly persists and is part of their culture knowledge. Author, Samuel Waje Kunhiyop states, “Almost all African societies believe in witchcraft in one form or another. Belief in witchcraft is the traditional way of explaining the ultimate cause of evil, misfortune or death. In the African culture it is believed that witches and witchcraft is the cause of all that is negative and all the problems that happen in the world.
(Cyprian F. Fisiy and Peter Geschiere). Some of the African witches choose to travel with migrants to other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom and continue their beliefs of witchcraft, which carries some serious implications. Their strong belief allows them to believe that both the positive and negative occurrences that happen are not by chance but by a human force.In the past it was believed that with time the belief in the practice of witches and witchcraft would evaporate and fade away due to the developments within the modern society, with such aspects like the growth in education rate and the embracing of religion, such as Christianity. (Aleksandra Cimpric).
However, in Africa, this is not the case. The belief in witchcraft still strongly persists and has been altered and modified accordingly to the changes of the modern world. Previously, the topic of witchcraft was considered prohibited, yet now it has become part of everyday language in Africa.It is believed that that in Africa, there are several ways one may become a witch. (Comaroff, J. and J. Cormaroff) African witchcraft can be seen as an innate power to harm; that it is bestowed upon a person from birth. Sometimes it is believed that it is not imparted on to a child at birth, but rather it is inherited.
The parents pass their beliefs on to their children. Many believe that the strong belief in witchcraft and evil presence are due to factors, such as the lack of education, but this however, has been proven not to be the case.Witchcraft is present in almost all parts of Africa, including the wealthy, built up areas where good education is provided. (Peter Schmoll) In many parts of the modern world, witchcraft and sorcery is considered to be malevolent and wicked but within African society it is not longer restricted to just the inner circle, instead it is viewed as the regular way of community life and continues to be present in everyday aspect of daily life. (Gregor Schmidt). Although viewed as a malicious force, there have been certain positive psychological and social aspects linked to the witchcraft beliefs.
For example, those who choose to believe in witchcraft believe that all the hardships and misfortune that occur in society and in nature is not caused by natural or environmental factors but is caused by a human force, giving them an explanation to what may not be able to be explained. It provides for a correlation between misfortunate happenings and man, and provides for a ready made means of how to react to what problems and hardships that have occurred. (E. E. Evans-Pritchard). This allows for a scapegoat during stressful times within in the African community, prompting the human psychological need to place blame.
The purpose of the need for a scapegoat within the witchcraft community is perhaps the most common explanation in all parts of the modern world as to why the belief in witchcraft continues to persist. The view of passing blame on to another for any misfortunes is the most solid link between the claim of witchcraft and the social anxiety and disappointments that are faced in everyday life. (Gregor Schmidt) Witchcraft and other evil powers have been blamed for almost all health problems that occur within the community, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic.In Africa it is believed that if someone contracts HIV/AIDS, this is seen as a form of black magic passed on to someone from the powers of witchcraft and from which, there is no cure.
They do not believe that the aspect of western medicine is able to help someone who has been cursed; instead they believe that the only way to cure AIDS is for the witch that bestowed the illness upon a person, to remove the disease from them. (Yamba, C. B) In central Africa, the children stand a high risk of being accused of being witches or being possessed by evil spirits by the churches and by Christian pastors.Although in almost all other parts of the world it would be viewed as child abused, in Africa, children are forced to take part in rituals and violent deliverance ceremonies in order to exorcise their demons. The pastors inform families that any emotional, economic and medical problems are caused by the weakest and youngest member of the family, and that the problems will persist if the child does not get cleansed of this.
Witchcraft in the United KingdomThe idea of witchcraft and sorcery may be a strong belief and considered to be part of the normal culture in Africa, but not usually in most parts of the modern world. However, the belief in witches and witchcraft is still whispered in all corners of the world, and is present throughout, including the United Kingdom, where Africans have migrated and carried their beliefs with them for the last fifty years. There have been many violent and horrific crimes reported in the United Kingdom based of the belief of witchcraft, some of which have even lead to death. These crimes are usually connected to children that are accused of being witches and performing witchcraft.The first shocking case of abuse on children due to witchcraft accusations that grabbed the nation’s attention was twelve years ago with the brutal murder of Victoria Climbie. Climbe was an eight year old girl who had been savagely beating to death by her guardians because they believed her to be a witch. She had been admitted to the hospital three times prior to the killing due to what appeared to be domestic injuries but little was done to help her.
Another case of brutal torture in the United Kingdom due to the belief that he was a witch was the case of Kristy Bamu.Kristy Bamu was a fifteen year old boy who lived in France. In 2010 he, along with his siblings, went to London to stay with his older sister for the Christmas holidays. While there, Kristy, along with his four siblings endured days of vicious torture at the hands of his sister, Magalie Bamu and her partner, Eric Bikubi. The torture started when Kristy wet the bed. Bikubi believed this to be a sign that Kristy had brought witchcraft, or kindoki as it is known in the Democratic Republic of Congo where both are from, in to his home, and so attacked him and beat him for days with various weapons.
After three days of agonising suffering, Kristy drowned in the bath tub. Kristy Bamu will not be the last in these horrific attacks. In the last decade, there have been 83 incidents of child battery and torture in correlation to witchcraft in London alone. Of these 83 children, four were murdered. In 2005, due to the alarming increase of child abuse case linked to witchcraft, the police set up an organisation, project violet, to help the problem and raise awareness of the issue.Project violet works with other organisations, such as schools, religious leaders, and the medical profession in ordered to make the community more aware of the abuse.ConclusionIn researching the question of how and why witchcraft in Africa still persists and the implications of them migrating to the United Kingdom, the results show that even though there is a modern society, witchcraft is adapted fittingly in order to sustain to the social order. The belief on how someone becomes a witch varies, whether it is believed that witchcraft is inherited or imposed on them at birth.
It is said that witchcraft continues due to the need to pass blame on to another in order to help with understand mishaps that occur in life, such as medical or economical, for example, the AIDS epidemic. Witches have been said to be responsible for the cause of HIV and AIDS and that there is no cure. The number in African citizens that have migrated over to the United Kingdom and continue the belief of witchcraft is drastically on the increase and with it comes serious consequences, such as the torture and murder of young children accused of applying witchcraft.Organisations, like Project Violet, have been created to help in horrific instances like these. Whether people choose to believe in witchcraft or not, it is still very much apart of African culture and the belief has spread to other regions of the world.
The accusation of witchcraft is a serious one which often leads many people to be tortured and die. Some may call it the African serial killer. The problem of witchcraft is on the rise to this day and shows no evidence of changing.BibliographyKunhiyop, W. S. 2009 American Christian Ethics: 337Fisiy, C. F. and P.
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