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يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “Africa”

Whiteness revisited — Foreskin Man and Vulva Girl

I recently discovered a new academic discipline, or pseudo-discipline, called “Whiteness Studies”, through some friends who appear to take it seriously.

From what I’ve been able to see, it this discipline proposes to cure racism by encouraging racist thinking, which, it seems to me, is a bit like an alcoholic thinking that the cure for his craving is another drink.

If any of this interests you, I’ve written a series of four blog posts on it, here:

Comments welcome, there or here.

I thought I’d written enough on it, but someone posted something on Facebook that made me change my mind: Foreskin Man and Vulva Girl Team Up to Battle Circumcision in Africa:

Foreskin Man and Vulva Girl Team Up to Battle Circumcision in Africa

Male and female circumcision collide in Foreskin Man #3 when America’s most controversial superhero attempts a daring rescue in the jungles of Kenya.

That looks like a rather good candidate for #20 Being an expert on YOUR culture | Stuff White People Like, though with a somewhat different slant on it. That seems to be the essence of Whiteness, as defined by the American discipline of Whiteness Studies.

But I’m getting ahead of the story, which begins here, in a web article someone recommended to me, about Racism 2.0, which is the racism practised by white liberals in the USA Tim Wise | With Friends Like These, Who Needs Glenn Beck? Racism and White Privilege on the Liberal-Left. And, it seems to me, the comic book Foreskin Man and Vulva Girl Team Up to Battle Circumcision in Africa seems to be a good example of Racism 2.0 as practised by white liberals in America. The gallant white superhero, representing enlightened Western values, sets out to rescue the barbaric Africans from their darkness. The cover of the comic says it all.

One of the things that human beings seem to do a lot is modify their bodies. The way they do this varies with different cultures, and as time passes cultures change, and bodily modifications fall in and out of fashion. One such fashion in the USA has been male circumcision. Another, common in the Western world, has been female ear piercing, and in some sub-cultures in the West piercing other parts of the body and sticking safety pins and other objects in the holes. A southern African varient of earpearcing, about 70-80 years ago, involved putting wooden cotton reels in holes in one’s earlobes.

Other such practices are knocking out front teeth, tattooing, and lengthening necks and penises. In China there was the practice of foot-binding of girls, because small feet on women were fashionable.

Another thing about this is that bodily modifications that one culture regards as normal seem bizarre and barbaric to people from other cultures.

In the 19th and early 20th century Christian missionaries travelled from Western Europe and North America in large numbers to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in other continents, and they came across many cultural practices that they found strange, and some that they found abhorrent. Among the ones they found abhorrent ones were foot-binding and female circumcision.

In China it was Christian missionaries who founded the Natural Foot Society, to discourage the practice of foot-binding. And in parts of Africa missionaries, who were associated with colonial governments, discouraged female circumcision. In Kenya, where, in the 1920s, all schools were controlled by various religious bodies, some missionaries, led by the Church of Scotland, insisted that all teachers in the schools should take an oath against female circumcision, which was practised by the Kikuyu (Agikuyu) people. This led to the formation of independent African-led educational associations, and eventually contributed to the establishment of the Orthodox Church in Kenya (see Orthodox mission in tropical Africa).

The policy of demanding oaths came back to bite the colonialist missionaries, however, when, about 20 years later, the Mau Mau movement began getting their members to take oaths to fight against the British colonial regime. Suddenly “oath-taking ceremonies” were made illegal, and suspicion that someone had participated in one became sufficient cause for detention without trial. All Kenyan Orthodox clergy were detained.

White Western secular liberals have often been quite vociferous in condemning the way in which Christian missionaries “destroy indigenous culture”, but are not averse to doing exactly the same thing when other people’s cultural values conflict with their own, and using neocolonial powers to put the squeeze on people who resist.

In a way, I can empathise with those who object to female circumcision. I can still recall the shock and revulsion I felt when I read about it as a teenage schoolboy in a book called Blanket boy’s moon by Peter Lanham and A.S. Mopeli-Paulus, which described the practice in Lesotho:

The first night of the (circumcision) school is known as the Marallo, the secret night. This night is spent outside the village in the dongas, where ritual dances are taught and new code names are given to the girls — so that they can afterwards challenge the claim of any woman who states that she is circumcised.

At Marallo, too, the Khokhobisa-tsoene, or “Hiding-of-the-monkey” is encompassed. The girls are cut with a blade in their outer sexual organs, and a flap of flesh is drawn down to cover that mischievous “monkey” which can be the source of much pleasure to uncircumcised girls. The performance of this rite tends to encourage chastity among the women, for a circumcised girl can know little of the joys and passions of physical love. During this ceremony when the blood flows from the wounded flesh, black magic medicine is rubbed in as a protection against bewitchment.

It can perhaps be said that the circumcision of women not only denies the girl great pleasure and joy in the sexual act, but must in consequence lessen the happiness and exaltation of the man, and thus shut out any upliftment of the spirit — lying with a woman, then, becomes a selfish rather than a mutual pleasure. Here in the very homeland, in this circumcision of women, lie the seeds of the physical love of man for man, which is brought to flower in the living conditions imposed on African mine workers by the white man.

As a schoolboy I found that more scary even than a description of a ritual murder elsewhere in the book.

But an interesting thing is that though the protest against the Protestant missionaries’ attempt to suppress female circumcision was one of the factors that helped the Orthodox Church to grow in Kenya, very few, if any, Orthodox Christians practise female circumcision today, not because of high-handed colonial or neocolonial suppression, but rather as a result of people seeing no need for it within a Christian worldview.

Western cultural imperialism hasn’t changed very much. Whether practised by Protestant missionaries or liberal secularists, it looks much the same. And I won’t say it doesn’t exist in South Africa. There are signs of it, for example when you get white suburbanites objecting to their black neighbours next door ritually sacrificing a goat, but generally I think white racism in South Africa takes different forms from that in North America. The North American version, with Foreskin Man going out to deal with the black savages in far-away places, is perhaps typical of the American version. And Foreskin Man doesn’t seem to be interested in rescuing the people his fellow-countrymen drop bombs on, in places like Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, where they lose a great deal more than their foreskins.

Apart from anything else, to me Foreskin Man and Vulva Girl sound utterly kitsch. But that’s probably just my cultural prejudice speaking.

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Technology and changing rural lifestyles

Twenty years ago, in an online discussion with someone, I expressed scepticism about the value of privatisation in telecommunications. Back then we were communicating on the Fidonet BBS network, which was a fine example of private enterprise socialism. Telkom, our telephone network, had recently been separated from the post office, and was being semi-privatised. There were ominous rumbles that they would be charrging the amateur BBS sysops business rates for their phone lines, because they were carrying “third-party traffic”, which Telkom thought ought to be part of their monopoly.

I thought privatisation of the telephone network would be a bad idea. The infrastructure of fixed-line telephones made it a natural monopoly. I couldn’t imagine five telephone companies setting up five different exchanges for our suburb, for a fifth of the traffic, and five times the infrastructure, five sets of lines to each place. And in rural villages with five subscribers — the school, the police station, the shop, the church and a couple of others, erecting five sets of phone lines would be wasteful. And if the shop-keeper wanted to phone the police, who were subscribed to a different company, it would probably cost more.

My interlocutor predicted that cell phones would change all that. Cell phones would make it possible to provide cheap telecommunications in rural areas. I remained sceptical, but his predictions have come true in ways that I doubt that even he had imagined, as this blog post shows: brett’s morning blend (25may10) | aliens and strangers:

This, though, may be the most surprising feat of technology: People who have never had a bank account, and never will, are using their cell phones to save money. They make their deposit at a cell phone store, and the money is kept in the phone network through their SIM chips. If they need to make a withdrawal, they go to a phone shop, and receive their cash. But increasingly now, they are not dealing with cash at all. Instead Tanzanians are paying one another by sending money from one phone to another. I pay for electricity here in Geita through my cell phone, and receive a code to enter into my electric meter. When I enter those numbers, my account is recharged with money. Pre-pay electricity through a telephone. That’s high technology, and people who’ve never seen a credit card are using it every day.

And there’s more. Africa leads the way in mobile money – The Globe and Mail:

It’s part of a phenomenon that has people in Africa adopting new technologies that have been slower to catch on in more developed parts of the world, where individuals and institutions cling to older, existing infrastructure. People in Africa who have never used an ATM card, banked online or even had a bank account are using their mobile phone for financial transactions, while Internet users are skipping cable modems and going straight to wireless broadband.

Five years ago we were planting a new church in Tembisa. Most of the people were unemployed, and one of them was a cell phone mast rigger. A couple of months later he got another job, and we haven’t seen him since — his job takes him all over the continent, where cell phone technology had begun taking off.

Update 20 June 2010

For an interesting post on a related topic see First World Technology in a Third World Country | Mission Issues

Kimbanguist Church

Our parish priest, Father Athanasius Akunda, has just returned from a meeting of the All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), and reported that there has been a heated debate about whether the Kimbanguist Church can remain a member of the AACC.

The Kimbanguist Church is the largest religious body in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and has been a member of the AACC for several years. It has, however recently changed its theology, and is reported to be no longer trinitarian.

Father Athanasius told the meeting that the Orthodox Church participated in ecumenical bodies like the AACC on the understanding that, whatever the differences in theology or practive there might be among the member groups, they at least held a common faith in the Holy Trinity. If the Kimbanguist Church no longer believed in the Trinity, then it was no longer Christian, and ought not to remain a member of a Christian body like the AACC. Rather it should acknowledge that it was a different religion, and engage in dialogue with Christians through acknowledged interfaith dialogue.

I’m curious to know what changes have taken place in the Kimbanguist Church’s theology, and why. I’ve asked about this in the African Independent Churches discussion forum, but so far there has been no response, so I thought I would appeal through a blog post to see if there is anyone who knows of recent developments in the theology of the Kimbanguist Church.

Amahoro Gathering


Last week I went to the Amahoro Gathering at Hekpoort, about 40 miles west of Pretoria. About 250 people gathered from various countries in Africa and there were a few from other countries as well.

“Amahoro” is a word in Rwandan languages meaning “peace”, and I think it was chosen to represent the rebuilding needed in that country following the horrific genocidal strife that took place there 15 years ago. The gathering was billed as “empowering emerging leaders”, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been there at all, not really being a leader, and at my age I’m submerging rather than emerging.

Much of it was about what it means to be Christian in a postmodern and postcolonial world. I won’t say much about it here — I’ve blogged about that in my other blog, with pictures. But it was useful, because words like “postcolonial” have often been bandied about and I wasn’t too sure what they meant, and I think I now have a better idea.

For some of the younger people there it was a lifechanging experience, and if you’re interested in reading about it, here are links to some of the blog posts on it, including mine.

If you have posted a blog post about the Amahoro Gathering and would like to add it to this list, please click here to see how to do it. You are welcome to copy this list to the end of your post.

Also, Technorati seems to be working again, so you can find more blog posts on the topic here.

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Sexed Bodies: Rethinking Abstinence in Light of the African AIDS Pandemic:| Theology and Sexuality

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Sexed Bodies: Rethinking Abstinence in Light of the African AIDS Pandemic: Theology and Sexuality:

As churches, non-profits, and governments look for solutions to end the African AIDS pandemic, abstinence has provided a seemingly quick and easy answer that is thought to carry moral weight. Yet abstinence, as it is preached and practiced, is often an immoral option because it does not first consider the full agency of women. In asking why abstinence has been so readily embraced as a response to the African pandemic, assumptions of black sexuality must be brought into question. The tendency to focus on sexual morality rather than on the economic, gender, and social inequalities that cause the spread of AIDS must also be questioned. Through employing a postcolonial critique of abstinence, I argue that when abstinence as morality and abstinence as prevention collapse into one another, there is no space for women to find agency in abstinence. Instead, abstinence must be defined as “space” rather than “prohibition” in order for it to contribute to human flourishing.

Hat-tip to Priestly Goth Blog: paper presentation on AIDS preventiong in Africa for the link.

Unfortunately, just as

so much communication about AIDS in Africa even that which attempts to offer treatment as well as programs of prevention follow colonial patterns of cultural imperialism and that even the language of AIDS is language imposed from others and not taken up from with in African cultural and linguistic matrices

so the pricing of the article follows colonial patterns of cultural imperialism and places it beyond the reach of any but the rich — the cost of a single article being higher than that of a very substantial hard-cover book, so that most people in Africa who probably ought to read it will be unable to afford it.

But Larry Kamphausen provides more information about the paper than can be read in the abstract, and also describes some of the discussion that follows the reading of it, so if you are interested in the topic of HIV/Aids prevention in Africa, his blog post at Priestly Goth Blog: paper presentation on AIDS preventiong in Africa is worth a read.

Roman Pope speaks on African witchcraft and witch hunts

The Roman Pope, Benedict XVI, recently visited Angola, and expressed concern about the witch hunts that are taking place in some African countries.

Pope Calls for Conversion From Witchcraft in Africa – washingtonpost.com:

The pope began his day addressing Catholic clergymen and nuns, telling them to be missionaries to those Angolans ‘living in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers. In their bewilderment they end up even condemning street children and the elderly as alleged sorcerers.’

In Africa, some churchgoing Catholics also follow traditional animist religions and consult medicine men and diviners who are denounced by the church.

People accused of sorcery or of being possessed by evil powers sometimes are killed by fearful mobs.

The article is somewhad skimpy, and doesn’t report on what means, if any, Pope Benedict suggested should be used to deal with the problem, but it is good to know that there is concern about it at the highest levels in the Roman Catholic Church, which is probably the biggest single Christian body in Africa.

That’s not to say that others have not been concerned about it in the past, but many past responses have been ineffectual. The modernist response has been quite common among Christian churches — to assert, in the face of witchcraft beliefs and fear of evil spirits, that such things don’t exist at all, and that modern and enlightened people don’t believe in such primitive nonsense. Faced with that kind of response from the church leaders, people who fear witches and evil spirits conclude that the church is not equipped to cope with such problems, and so they resort to those who do claim to be competent to deal with them — diviners and medicine men, the so-called “witchdoctors”.

If Pope Benedict is urging church leaders to take the fears of such people seriously, and to help them to overcome them rather than despising them as primitive superstitions from the vantage point of a superior Enlightenment worldview, then that is to be welcomed.

But there is also the problem of some neopentecostal groups who, according to some reports, are actually fanning those fears into a flame, and thereby encouraging witch hunts and pointing the finger of suspicion even at children. That should be a matter of concern to all Christians in the continent.

Update

I’ve just found a link to the full text of Pope Benedict’s address here.

I believe this is a very important document for the Christian Church in Africa.

No more child witches in Congo?

clipped from www.bbc.co.uk
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to vote shortly for new legislation that will make it a criminal offence to accuse a child of being a witch.
Many of the hundreds of children who are sleeping rough on the streets of the capital city Kinshasa have been accused of being witches. But is it possible to legislate against such deeply held beliefs and can such a law be enforced in a country that has been so fractured by war?

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Whether the law can be enforced in such a fractured country is indeed a moot point, but so is the idea of these “deeply-held” beliefs.

These beliefs, to all accounts, appeared quite suddenly in recent history. Perhaps they could disappear just as suddenly. What we need to find is what it takes to make them disappear, and perhaps it could help to find what caused them to appear in the first place.

The DRC, like other African countries, has long had many people who believe that misfortunes are caused by witchcraft and sorcery. What appears to be new is the belief that these witches are young children, and that it is occurring on such a scale. Perhaps it is the very fractured nature of the society that is causing these beliefs to spread and be deeply held.

Hat-tip to What is witchcraft.

Postcolonial Christianity in Africa

I’ve recently heard quite a number of people (well, read on their blogs rather than “heard”) saying that they are “post colonial Christians”. Actually I think I recall Brian McLaren saying something about post-colonial Christianity when he visited Pretoria last year too.

My difficulty is in trying to work out what this “Post-colonial Christianity” that people talk about actually is. What do people mean when they talk about “postcolonial Christianity”? This is one of those blog posts where I toss in a lot of half-baked ideas in the hope that other people will help me to bake them — and especially those people who regard themselves as “postcolonial Christians” — what is it that makes them such, other than pure chronology?

One of the things that I found helpful was a blog post by Julie Clawson, at One hand clapping, on Cultural Imperialism, Contextualization, and Postcolonial Missions. What she described is a good example of what postcolonial mission is most decidedly NOT, which can help to clarify one’s thinking on the topic, except that it is from an American rather than an African point of view.

A step forward, and what actually got me thinking more seriously about this, was reading The Cambridge history of Christianity. Volume 9: World Christianities c.1914-c.2000. Actually the title is a bit misleading — the book is quite specifically about Western Christianity and its offshoots, but still, this is what it says about postcolonial Africa:

Autocratic regimes prevailed until the end of the 1980s when a combination of forces led to their demise. The collapse of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War deprived states of Western or Eastern benefactors and of legitimating models of communist dictatorship. Moreover, events in Eastern Europe inspired a revived and resurgent civil society to challenge near bankrupt regimes. A ‘second democratic revolution’ ensued as more than half of sub-Saharan African states made political reforms and moved toward multi-party democracy. In this revolution the churches played a leading role. Sadly, however, the political transformation begun at the end of the 1980s was shortlived. In a new world dominated by America the new regimes had to embrace neo-liberal economics of trade liberalisation, privatisation and diminished state provision in the form of structural adjustment programmes ordained by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. While such policies benefited a minority of African businessmen working for international companies, they stifled local enterprise, boosted unemployment, and led to new levels of poverty, crime and violence. Worse still, many of the newly elected leaders of multi- party regimes were ‘born-again’ politicians from the previous generation of politicians. Their conversions to democracy proved to be superficial and they were barely distinguishable from their predecessors. Soon they learnt how to stay in power by dividing opposition parties and manipulating elections and constitutions while satisfying international pressure. Their governments became de facto one- party regimes. Thus from the mid-1990s Africa’s churches have been involved in a third democratic revolution. This revolution is against ‘presidential third-termism’ — the tendency of leaders to cling to office. It is a struggle for incorrupt ‘transparency’ and the development of electoral institutions, and a struggle for a democratic political culture. Only through such a revolution can African states begin to reconnect with the needs and aspirations of their citizens (McLeod 2006:405).

We have seen attempts at the ‘third democratic revolution’ in Kenya, where it was stifled, and at the December ANC congress, where the levers of power in the ANC were prised from the clutches of those who had hitherto held them. What is the role of postcolonial Christians in all that?

Five years ago we had SACLA II, the Southern African Christian Leadership Assembly, but where did it get us? We were supposed to face up to the “giants” that threatened our society, which included unemployment, poverty, crime and violence. But there seemed to be a reluctance to face up to the giants behind the giants — America, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, structural adjustment programmes and the ideology of neoliberalism that they have been peddling to African governments. My recollection of SACLA II was that some American came round and gave out free copies of a rather kitschy book called The prayer of Jabez, which seemed to be a good example of what Karl Marx described as “the opium of the people.”

So what IS postcolonial Christianity? And what is it going to do about the “giants”? And what will happen when Jacob Zuma and umshini wakhe doesn’t turn out to be the kind of saviour that people are apparently hoping for?

US quietly garrisons Africa

In an ominous development, the USA has started establishing military bases in Africa.

Why should they want to do that? Are they wanting to start wars here, as they have done in Europe and Asia?

“With little scrutiny from Democrats in Congress and nary a whimper of protest from the liberal establishment, the United States will soon establish permanent military bases in sub-Saharan Africa,” write Glover and Lee in The Nation. “An alarming step forward in the militarization of the African continent, the US Africa Command (Africom) will oversee all US military and security interests throughout the region, excluding Egypt.”

Several African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Libya, are opposed to Africom, and late Tuesday, West African military chiefs denounced the US approach to the project.

Africom officials claim the project will strengthen humanitarian and peacekeeping operations and is not about building more US bases. But critics allege that it’s a move to secure US access to natural resources and counter the growing Chinese presence across the continent. African nations supply the United States with more than 24 percent of its oil

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MPUMALANGA WITCHCRAFT SUPPRESSION BILL 2007

The legislature of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa has recently published a draft bill for the suppression of witchcraft (and witch hunts).

Witch hunting has been a serious problem in South Africa in recent years, though Limpopo province has probably been more affected than Mpumalanga. Phillip Pare posted the text of the draft bill in the Christianity and Society discussion forum, and I thought it might be worth posting it here too. While witch hunting has been a serious problem, I’m not sure that this is the right way of dealing with it. It is already an offence, under national legislation, to accuse someone of being a witch, and to assault anyone or damage their property, whether one has accused them of being a witch or not. The main difference this will make, if passed in the present form, would be to try to regulate traditional healers in the same way as practitioners of Western medicine are regulated. Traditional premodern society meets bureaucracy.

I have a theory that the prevalence of witchhunting is partly the encounter between premodernity and modernity in any case. The proposed bill seems to be “hair of the dog that bit you.”

Sorry if the formatting looks weird. I tried to get it right, but I’m not sure if I succeeded.


MPUMALANGA WITCHCRAFT SUPPRESSION BILL 2007 (Draft)

To provide for the suppression of witchcraft in the province, to set the code of Conduct for Traditional Healers, to provide for the responsibilities of Traditional leaders and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

PREAMBLE

WHEREAS Chapter 2 of the Constitution recognizes Human rights for all.,

WHEREAS the Traditional Customs must be transformed to be in line with Constitution.

WHEREAS the Traditional Leaders must promote goodwell, Democratic Governance within their Communities.

AND WHEREAS traditional leaders must strive to enhance tradition and culture in a way that is consistent with applicable laws of the Republic of South Africa.

BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED by the Provincial Legislature of the Province of Mpumalanga, as follows:

DEFINITIONS

Definitions

“Constitution” means the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

“Igedla” means a person who knows and uses muti either to cure, protect from evil spirits, etc or to cause damage, suffering, harm etc. without ukuthwasa and does not foretell the future as an inyanga

“Inkosi” means a traditional leader-

(a) underwhose authority , or within whose area of jurisdiction Traditional leaders exercise authority in accordance with Customary law, and

(b) recognized as such in terms of the Traditional leadership and Governance Framework Act 2003 (Act.No. 41 of 2003).

“Inyanga” means a person who uses muti to cause harm, damage, suffering, bad luck, cure diseases, protect from evil spirits and uses mixtures shells, coins, bones,etc. to foretell the future of people, identify witches, perform spells for good and or evil purposes.

Kuthwasa” means a special training undergone by Inyanga which teaches the inyanga about muti, ukuphengula (foretelling) and sometimes to train other new inyanga. This training can be done through disappearance under water (river/sea) for a long time or by attending the residence of the Inyanga that trains other inyangas.

“Muti” means any mixture of herbs, water, wollen cufs etc, used by wizards, igedla, inyanga, African Churches, Foreign traditional Healers, etc for the purposes of curing deseases, helping others who come to consult to them for whatever purposes and including causing harm to others or their properties.

“Province” means the Province of Mpumalanga.

“Spells” means a form of words used as magical charm or incantation used by Wizards.

“Traditional leader” means any person who, in terms of customary law of the traditional community concerned, holds a traditional leadership position, and is recognized in terms of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003.

“Umhlahlo” means a gathering of families or persons with the approval of the Traditional Leader or King at the place of an Inyanga with the purpose of identifying another as witch by the Inyanga, irrespective of whether the gathering is voluntary or involuntary “Umkhaya” has a corresponding meaning.

“Witchcraft” means the secret use of muti, , spells, spirits, magic powders, water, mixtures, etc, by any person with the purpose of causing harm, damage, sickness to others or their property.

“Wizard”means any person who secretly solicit or uses muti, , spells, spirits, magic powders, water, mixtures, baboons, etc. for the purposes of causing harm, damage or suffering to another.

CHAPTER 2

PROMOTION OF GOOD RELATIONS AMONGST COMMUNITY MEMBERS

2(1) No person shall point, imply or direct that any body practices witchcraft or has been bewitched by anybody.

(2) The King or Traditional Leader shall promote good neighbourhood amongst his or her subjects,

(3) The King or Traditional Leader shall in promoting good neighborhood amongst subjects, advice:

(a) any person who is of the opinion that his or rights are being violated to:

(i) report the matter to the King or Traditional leader of the offence by the other person,

(ii) Call upon all parties involved to give evidence of the nature of the allegations by the other party and the plaintiff to defend her/himself in a form of a trial,

(iii) be available on the request by the King or Traditional Leader when trying the case.

(b) If for any other reason the aggrieved party is not satisfied by the ruling of the king or Traditional Leader, he or she may:

(i) open a case with the SAPS on the alleged violation of his or her rights, or

(ii seek recourse from a Court of law of the Republic of south Africa under whose jurisdiction he or she falls.


CHAPTER 3


RESPONSIBILITIES OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS

3 It shall be the responsibility of any traditional leader to:

(1) Issue permits of practice to traditional healers who are registered with the Traditional Healers Association.

(2) keep a register of all practicing traditional Healers under his jurisdiction.

(3) Prohibit, in consultation with the Association,’ any person from practicing, who is found to be breaking the code of conduct of traditional healers or any laws applicable to the Republic of South Africa.

(4) Discourage any members of the community from obtaining permission to conduct umhlahlo.

(5) Prohibit the holding of Umhlahlo within his area of jurisdiction.

(6) Prohibit and not entertain any group of people alleging witchcraft and who request the chasing away of any person or family from the community who is alleged to be practicing witchcraft.

(7) Report to authorities, any person known to be breaking the provisions of this Bill.


CHAPTER 4

REGISTRATION OF TRADITIONAL HEALERS

4 Any person who is currently practicing or wishes to practice as a traditional healer shall:-

(1) Register with the Traditional Healers Association within his area of operation;

(2) Ensure that his or her name is kept in the register of the Traditional leader for people practicing as Traditional healers in his area of jurisdiction; and

(3) On the registration form must indicate at least tree areas of specialty of his or her practice.



CHAPTER 5


CODE OF CONDUCT OF TRADITIONAL HEALERS

5 Traditional Healers shall in abiding by the Code of Conduct:

(1) Promote the harmonious living environment for their clients.

(2) Co-operate in the open and in a manner that indicates professionalism through:-

(a) abiding by the rules and regulations of the Association;

(b) keeping a register or inventory of all medicines or muti he/she uses;

(c) clearly marking the muti and it’s purpose;(d) permitting unscheduled and scheduled searches by authorities through the Association to inspect and verify the muti so kept and any other related matters’;

(e) signing a code of conduct with the Association not to use any prohibited substances and or any human tissue as defined in the Human Tissues Act;


(f) prescribing muti for curing purposes and not for killing purposes, causing damage or harm to another nor help any person with regard to the killing, causing damage or harm others;

(g) reporting anyone soliciting human tissues or selling them; and


(h) co-operate with Police on any investigation.

(3) If the traditional healer is also an Inyanga, he or she shall not:-

(a) Point any person as a witch;

(b) Involve himself or herself in or prophesy any need for ritual killing;


(c) Provide help to anyone bringing or soliciting the use of human tissue for muti purposes; and


(d) Perform umhlahlo with the purpose of identifying any person as a witch or wizard


CHAPTER 6

OFFENCES

6 Any person who conducts himself in the manner below shall be guilty of an offence:-


1 (a) Imputes to any other person the causing, by supernatural means, of any disease in or injury or damage to any person or thing, or who names or indicates any other person as a wizard;

(b) In circumstances indicating that he professes or pretends to use any supernatural power, witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or disappointment of any person or thing to any other person;


(c) Employs or solicits any witchdoctor, witch-finder or any other person to name or indicate any person as a wizard;


(d) Professes a knowledge of witchcraft, or the use of charms, advises any person how to bewitch, injure or damage any person or thing, or supplies any person with any pretended means of witchcraft;


(e) On the advice of any inyanga, witch-finder or other person or on the ground of any pretended knowledge of witchcraft, uses or causes to be put into operational any means or process which, in accordance with such advice or his own belief, is calculated to injure or damage any person or thing; and

(f) For gain pretends to exercise or use any supernatural powers, witchcraft, sorcery or enchantment.


SHORT TITLE AND COMMENCEMENT

9 (1) This Act is called The Mpumalanga Witchcraft suppression Act and comes into operation on a date fixed by the Premier by proclamation in the Provincial Gazette

Harry Potter fans might be riled by the definition of “wizard”. I think Kim Paffenroth and others might be interested in the reference to zombies (though zombies are not defined).

The Bill also refers to African Churches, and since the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa is the original African Church, having been established by St Mark the Evangelist in AD 42, I wonder if the oil used in Holy Unction counts as “muti”, and would have to be registered in terms of the Act if it becomes law in its present form?

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