…Which people are accused
WITCH, as defined by the Oxford dictionary is: “A woman thought to have evil magical powers,” and a wizard is: “a man thought to have evil magical powers”.
I would like to cite some of the reasons people give when they accuse someone of witchcraft.
Sometimes when a person is progressing financially, people erroneously think he or she has resorted to witchcraft. Although that person might be truly working hard to acquire his or her wealth, people in the community will begin to question the source of that person’s wealth.
If that person’s wealth is still increasing, they may entertain thoughts that the person is using human blood for money. And this can convince them to declare or accuse that person as a witch. This kind of practice should be abolished in our communities.
There is also the instance where the aged are always accused of witchcraft. This is very common in rural areas. Parents are accused of being witches and wizards just because they are old. Most of the accused person who end up in camps for witches and wizard are old men and women.
There are only a few young persons who are accused and living in these camps. This is because of the perception that the aged and the poor in our communities are those who practice witchcraft.
Some of the alleged witches and wizards are banished from their communities to “Witches Camps like the Gnani Camp in Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region and the Kukuo Camp in Bimbilla because some spiritualist say they are witches or wizards.
When they are taken to the shrine for the spiritualist to confirm whether they are witches or wizards, the spiritualist will claim that the person possesses witchcraft without concrete proof.
For instance, if there has been any misunderstanding between two people, one of the parties can connive with other people to declare the other party a witch to be banished.
Most often too, people in our communities are accused of witchcraft because of envy and jealousy. As polygamous marriages are common in rural areas, a man may marry more than one wife. If the second wife does not bear children, there will come a time when the first wife will be accused of being responsible for her rival’s barrenness. A woman may not even want her husband to marry another wife. If he should do so, she will employ all means to get her rival out of the house. Such hatred can make her accuse her rival of witchcraft in order to tarnish her image.
Sometimes the behavior of character of some people in the community will give other people the opportunity to accuse them of being witches or wizards. If there is a serious quarrel between two people and one of them happens to pass away soon afterwards, accusations will be made against the other as being the one responsible for that person’s death, and this is equally an accusation of witchcraft.
This kind of dreams that people do have and the interpretations they give to these dreams is another source of accusations. Somebody can sleep and have a dream and whoever is seen in the dream can be accused of having witchcraft. This can ruin the lives of our parents. What about those who look at the wrinkled faces of others and conclude that they are witches?
In conclusion, I think all of the above mentioned can be some of the reasons people may give , hence we have to intensify our education so that people will no longer engage in such outmoded thinking and behavior.
Mohammed Fazeima – Yendi Senior High School
Story by courtesy of SOSYWEN, an NGO advocating women’s rights
The Spectator Page: 22 Saturday, March 19, 2010