Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is witchcraft An African Myth?

As a little boy I witnessed an incident that scared my mind. In 1978 in Ntenako, a woman had gone to Nigeria and bought some fetish to have good production. Instead of a good harvest that year she and the villagers experienced an invasion of locusts. The locusts ate everything that had leaves in the village. The harvest was really poor and bad, and hunger had taken its toll in the village. Then on a faithful day, the Obansinjom came out. When it came out, everyone followed it to its dancing place. It was like the middle of the town. It would go from one end of the village to another and invited those it wanted to talk to. It invited a lady to the scene. And then it revealed to her that what she went to buy from Nigeria was actually locust. For the locusts in the village to go away, she must take her parcel back to the sorcerer who sold it to her. She took it back and the locust all went away. She was latter nickname Mama Ketchaghanta (pronounced ketchakanta) meaning Mother of Locusts. That is witchcraft at it best.
A second example was when one woman killed a young woman that was growing up. The fortune tellers in the village and Obasinjom revealed who was the killer. So they said she can only pay back by giving her own child. She gave one of her daughters and they made some concoction and gave the girl to eat. Immediately, she lost thought of her family and began paying her allegiance now only to the new family.
Obasinjom Head
A third example was with my own very uncle. The mother went to the farm from Mbefa (a quarter in Ntenako): she slithered, fell and the cutlass slid and cut the child in the womb and stuck in the mother's womb. My grandfather: Ta-Ben took her from the farm and called that they should use a slave and save the child. So they did and the mother delivered him with the mark on the nose. Anecdotes like these ones immediately establish the existence of witchcraft and scorn at the assertion that witchcraft does not exist or that it is only an African myth.
A fourth example was when a lady who knew that she was going to die went behind the house and buried her money so that after she died, she will come out as a ghost, take the money and pay her way to a foreign country. When she was going to bury the money behind a plantain tree her neighbor saw her and waited after she left, she went and stole the money. When the woman died, she appeared as a ghost and began troubling the entire village of Ntenako. Little kids were afraid to go to school and mothers were afraid to go to the farm. Even some men too were afraid. So the Obasinjom appeared and called on the village to gather. They gathered and she called out the lady who stole the money. She confessed and was asked to reimburse the money. She was fined by the women’s group in the village and every other group meeting in which she was a member. How did the Obasinjom know all these details? Witchcraft does exist indeed.

Obasinjom in Action
In the Old Testament days there was ventriloquism (Is Sam 28: 3-25). Ventriloquism is a type of witchcraft just like pyromancy, hydromancy chiromancy, cartomancy, levitationism, spodomancy (common with African priests and priestesses) and you name the rest. Horoscope and astrology are all forms of witchcraft. If Witchcraft was an African Affair then the Jews should not have been warned from practicing it. Remember that the Assyrians, Babylonians and other heathens were not from Africa. In addition, if it was only African, God would not have told them to refrain from witchcraft (Deut. 18: 10-14. Exo. 22:18, Gal. 5: 19-21, Acts 8: 9-11, Acts 13: 6, Rev. 22:15). How do you avoid a thing that does not exist? Most Nigerian movies have exposed the complex nature of witchcraft more than one earlier thought. Movies like The Egg of Life or The Battle of Musanga all transfer witchcraft from the myth category to religious practice.
However, if it was only in Nigeria and Cameroon then one would still have their doubts. But those who read the African Child by Camara Laye know that the existence of the serpent God was and still part of cultures in Guinea. Furthermore, there is not a single country in Africa where witchcraft is not practiced. During Nations Cup and World Cup or even club competitions African teams are known for traveling with their witch doctors paid at the state’s expense.
Perhaps to buttress that Witchcraft is not an African myth one would want to consider other continents like Europe and Americas. If we have our eyes and ears opened we would have known of the Witch-Craze in Europe. The Salem Witch Trials all point to the existence of witchcraft. In every society that has a religion there is the belief in witchcraft too. Today in America we have the Wiccans who belief in witchcraft. In Latin America there was no magic without brujeria (witchcraft). If you follow the news you would have heard people arrested in India and China for practicing witchcraft? How is it an African myth and people in other continents are getting its effects and consequences?
Perhaps it behooves me to state here that ab inito witchcraft was not for bad intention. Jujus like the Obansinjom, and many others instead fought evil rather than propagate evil. Those who practiced evil were haunted and cursed by the fetishes and the animist priestess or priest. Witchcraft like religion has greatly changed its focus. Rather than fight evil, it permeates it just like what the church is doing today. The church was supposed to protect the people from robbers but most adherents are swindled with all false doctrines by their pastors and ministers.
The validity is that anything that has to do with belief or use of the mind cannot be limited to one group of people because though people may have different colors and are from different places but the human mind functions the same. The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked. Thus witchcraft exists and is not only limited to Africans or the Dark Skinned.
Wizards and witches like to operate in darkness as darkness goes with evil. They operate in the invisible and are there to inflict serious harm and destruction on individuals they envy or do not like. Witchcraft could take different forms and manifestations. Consequently people should be careful to reject its existence. Rather than reject its existence they should desire to protect themselves. And the only power above all other powers is that of God. Every other power in face with that of the Almighty is powerless power. Those that are blessed by God cannot be cursed by witchcraft spells and fetishes. Those that have the hedge of protection of the Almighty will find Him a refuge and fortress they can trust. He will deliver them from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He will be their shield and buckler. They will not fear the terror by night; nor the arrow by day. A myriad of witches will attack them but no evil will befall them. That is because he is omnipotent: Jehovah Nissi- The Lord our Fighter.
Until then, Christians should know Witchcraft exists but should not fear it.

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