Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “politics and religion”

Luddite theology

Last week I was at the Joint Conference of academic societies in the field of Religion and Theology, and I was struck by the almost complete absence of comment on the conference in social media, or in other electronic forums.

Only last year one of those learned societies, the Southern African Missiological Society (SAMS) held its annual congress in Pretoria, and there was a continual stream of tweets on Twitter with the #SAMS2011 hashtag. WiFi was available at the venue (a local church hall) to facilitate this, and there was even a screen set up to show the Twitter stream as it was occurring.

This year, in a far bigger conference, with 16 different societies participating, held on a university campus, there was almost no electronic sharing with those unable to attend. Though there was a good WiFi network available on the campus, conference participants were not given access to it, even though the conference was very expensive to attend. So the most we could manage during the conference was the occasional tweet from a cell phone, and the occasional picture on Facebook (and I still haven’t managed to work out how to make the cell phone do these tricks, so I was never sure what was posted or not). But as far as I could see only three people tweeted using the #JCRT2012 hashtag, and one of those tweets was simply a remark that I seemed to be the only one tweeting on the conference.

Does this indicate that academics in the field of religion and theology have gone off the use of digital technology, and that SAMS 2011 was merely a flash in the pan, an incongruous exception?

There were digital projectors in all the venues where papers were presented, but I didn’t use one for my paper because I didn’t know beforehand what provision would be made for that, and in many cases when they were used they were distracting, as there was much fiddling with the equipment, and sometimes the wrong slide was shown, with interruptions while the right one was found, and where the equipment was used it was often only to show the text of the paper anyway.

While the lack of WiFi can be blamed on the organisers of the conference, I’m not sure that the blame lies entirely with them. If there was access, would anyone have used it?

Abstracts of all the papers being read were made available to conference participants beforehand, and I thought that that might be an opportunity of sharing what was being said and what was happening with those unable to attend. I posted a few of the abstracts in some electronic forums in the hope that they might elicit some comments or questions, but the response was zero. Perhaps that is an indication that academics in the field of religion and theology are technological luddites, and are simply not interested in using electronic media to communicate, or perhaps it was because they thought that the quality of the papers, as reflected in the abstracts, was so poor that they weren’t worth reading, much less commenting on. I posted several abstracts in the missiological forum, since missiology is my field, but I also posted some in the general religion forum, the new religious movements forum, and the African Independent Churches forum. There didn’t seem to be any responses in any of them.

I don’t think Twitter is the best medium for commenting on or sharing what is happening at an academic conference. I think live blogging is better, as it can give more idea of the content, but without WiFi live blogging is not an option, and so we had to make do with Twitter, but it seems that most people didn’t even use that.

I wonder if anyone will even read this!

I suggest that the next joint conference (in three years’ time) take the form of a bosberaad, where the venue will be cheaper, with no electricity, and people can read their papers by the light of paraffin lamps.

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Religion and politics

Religion and politics don’t mix — well that’s what the pietistic evangelicals of the religious right used to tell us back in the days of apartheid. Therefore, they concluded, Christians should not criticise political leaders and their policy of apartheid and the ethnic cleansing that resulted from it. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.

Now the boot is on the other foot, and it is the secular humanists and the “new atheists” who are saying that religion and politics don’t mix, and one gets the impression that if they had their way there would be two voters rolls, an A roll for atheists, to elect 350 members of parliament, and a B roll for agnostics, who would be allowed to elect 50 members of parliament, and the rest would have no vote at all, and everyone knows that all war, hatred and oppression in the world has been caused by religion, and until the superstitious have come to their senses they should not be allowed to vote.

But what about the politicians themselves?

Over the last week there have been several news items about prominant politicians and their religious views, practices or utterances, to wit Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama and Jacob Zuma. These have been interesting, but even more interesting have been the responses.

Let’s start with Jake the Fake. So far no one has put it better than Tinyiko Sam Maluleke’s Blog – Thinking Allowed!: Welcome to Jacob Zuma’s Heaven:

“When you vote for the ANC, you are also choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork … who cooks people.” Thus spake the son of God to loud cheers and unstoppable giggles. And not for the first time, mind you. He spoke before, he is speaking now and he will speak again. How many times before, has he underlined the intimate relationship between the ANC and the Lord? With uncharacteristic calm and collection, our Jacob has pointed out that until the Lord returns, the ANC will rule. To the ANC has ruling authority been granted during this interim period of uncertainly — the in-between period — the period between the ascension of Jesus and the return of Jesus. Only those who hide in the ark called ANC will survive the trials and tribulations of the current age! You have heard it said before that Jesus will return to fetch the righteous and the holy, but in Mthatha last Friday, Jacob the son of God said to you, Jesus will return to fetch those clad in the black, green and gold.

‘Nuff said. If you want to read more, go and read the rest of it on Tinyiko’s blog.

Then there was this: Putin on Mount Athos pilgrimage:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the monastic community of Mount Athos in Greece, one of Orthodox Christianity’s holiest sites.

He was the first Russian leader to visit the male-only community, on a narrow, rocky peninsula east of Thessaloniki, Russian TV reported.

The trip was part of Mr Putin’s two-day visit to Greece.

He has openly embraced the Orthodox faith, despite having served the atheist Soviet regime as a KGB officer.

Well, I suppose that makes him an apostate atheist, but at least he has gone to the source, unlike the days when the leader of the Russian Communist Party, anxious to acquire some of the magic pixie dust that fell from the church, which public opinion polls showed was more trusted by the people than politicians, decided to visit a church one day for a photo-op, and lit a candle with his cigarette lighter.

And then there is Barack Obama.

If Putin was a convert from atheism, Barack Obama, was a convert from agnosticism and, rather touchingly, seems as much concerned about his own family as about religion in the great affairs of state or the fortunes of his party. Barack Obama affirms his Christianity | The Guardian:

The US president told the national prayer breakfast in Washington that he prays for peace in the Middle East – and that he also asks for God’s assistance with his 12-year-old daughter, Malia.

‘Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance, where there will be boys. Lord, let her skirt get longer as she travels to that place,’ Obama recounted.

Obama’s speech today was laced with Biblical references in his most public affirmation of his faith. With many Americans under the illusion that he might be a covert Muslim, Obama explained: ‘I came to know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace him as my Lord and Saviour.’

Obama described his upbringing as ‘not religious’, his father as a non-believer and his mother ‘grew up with a certain scepticism … she only took me to church at Easter and Christmas – sometimes’.

The response of one American (but typical of other responses) to this news was to say “The Koran permits lying if doing so benefits Islam.”

We are urged to pray for rulers and civil authorities, so let us pray for all these leaders. But especially Barack Obama, because he is evidently president of a nation of lunatics.

Newsweek jumps the shark

Newsweek has really jumped the shark this time. They’ve just run an article on “the new faces of the religious right”, and they seem to have got it all wrong. Among the people they have included is Jim Wallis, regarded by most on the religious right as a dangerous leftist, and certainly one who has been active in trying to move American evangelicalism leftwards — at least closer to the centre even if not to the actual left.

Faces of the Christian Right – Newsweek:

Who speaks for the religious right? That used to be an easy question to answer: on matters of faith and politics, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson were towering figures: opinionated, controversial, and vastly influential. But with Falwell’s death in 2007, Robertson’s outlandish comments about the 2010 earthquake in China and Hurricane Katrina, and Dobson’s gradual retirement, it’s harder to pinpoint a similar council for the second generation of the movement, which is more strategically, denominationally, and ideologically diverse. Many of the new leaders don’t subscribe to the (figuratively) bomb-throwing tactics their forebears did.

And accompanying the Newsweek article is this picture of a Dr Verwoerd look-alike. No doubt that is a suitable picture to illustrate the “right”, as Verwoerd’s right-wing credentials must surely be impeccable, but Dr Verwoerd was hardly “religious”. He hardly ever talked about God, and the closest he ever got was some vague references to “Providence”. Newsweek doesn’t tell us who is in the picture — the closest thing to a caption is “Phyllis Redman / MCT Landov”, which is rather uninformative. That guy doesn’t look like a Phyllis to me.

But Jim Wallis and “Religious Right” surely don’t go together.

But perhaps in the weird contorted American political imagination they do. Many Americans appear to believe that Nazism = Socialism and that Hitler was a Socialist. If they can believe that, I suppose they can believe anything, even about Jim Wallis.

And Jim Wallis is the only one on Newsweek’s list of names that was even vaguely recognisable. I knew of Jim Wallis through an American Evangelical acquaintance, Dick Peace, who worked in South Africa 40 years ago, and when he returned to the US told me that there were some American Evangelicals who were not politically apathetic, as most of them were back then, but that some were trying to promote interest in social justice, and referred us to Sojourners, which was founded by Jim Wallis. The following decade saw the rise of the American religious right, which promoted the cause of social injustice, and was hardly to be linked with Jim Wallis.

The American religious right has been influential to some extent in Africa, and its ideas have been disseminated through videos and visiting speakers and the kind of religious books sold in secular bookshops, and have resulted in the formation of Neopentecostal denominations that promote those ideas, sometimes contextualised for Africa.

At one time I used to receive the Sojourners e-mail newsletter, but I gave it up because it did not have a global perspective, but seemed to be almost entirely concerned with American domestic politics, and kept referring to the names of people who were obviously farmiliar to their audience, but most of whom I had never heard of.

But for those familiar with and interested in American parochial politics and religion, the Newsweek article has been analysed and deconstructed at Um, Wallis represents the new Christian right? | GetReligion:

That Newsweek piece is abysmal. My favorite quote? “It’s not as sexy as praying with the president.” [In the bio of Melissa Rogers] Since when is Palin an “evangelical rock star”? [In the bio of Marjorie Dannenfelser] The bit about Cizik is wildly inaccurate – he never backed gay marriage. [In the bio of Jim Wallis]

This guy makes young journalists everywhere look bad. The arrogant sarcasm running throughout this piece is inexcusable; it’s not even appropriate for the op-ed page!

Political correctness left and right

A conservative blog for peace:

A young Canadian libertarian thinks about social conservatism. If a Muslim can’t handle hearing a Christian word then he does not belong in a country of (supposed) free speech. Not all social conservatives want the government to control speech to fit the Canadian heritage mold. I would argue that most, like me, would probably prefer everyone to be culturally Canadian and value traditions but would rarely want the government involved.

I haven’t heard of Muslims objecting to Christian words like “Christmas” — the word mentioned in the original article The Shotgun: My brush with conservatism:

On one side of that line, there is ‘being politically correct’; on the other, free speech. Using the term Holiday instead of Christmas is fine when used to include all religions and ethnicities, but telling someone that they can’t use the word Christmas because it is discriminating against non-Christians is ridiculous.

“Social conservatives” seem to attribute “political correctness” to the left, but it’s equally common on the right.

I’ve heard of some “socially conservative” Christians who have objected to having “Halaal” printed on food for sale, so this is not simply a “left” political correctness — it affects the whole political spectrum except the liberals, who believe in live and let live.

And “live and let live” means that Christians can have Christmas (though we prefer to call it “The Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ”, but “Christmas” is fine as shorthand) and Muslims can have Ramadan without it being called “the holidays”, and can have food marked as “Halaal” if it makes shopping easier for them. It would be nice if food were also labelled “Nistisimou” for Orthodox Christians, though. Would Muslims object to that? I doubt it. And matzos is “nistisimou”, even if it is labelled “kosher”.

My objection to “Christmas socials” is that they usually take place during the pre-Christmas fast, and not during the Christmas festive season season itself.

But don’t come with all that guff about left “political correctness” — it comes just as much from the socially conservative “religious right” as it does from the left, if not more so.

Outcry over Dalai Lama visa refusal

Sowetan – News:

The government has been widely condemned for refusing to allow Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to attend a 2010 World Cup peace conference in Johannesburg on Friday.

Nobel peace laureate and former president FW de Klerk and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu have both said they would boycott the event in solidarity with the Dalai Lama.

The president’s excuse that the reason for South Africa refusing the visa was that it did not want ‘to remove the world’s attention’ from the 2010 Soccer World Cup preparations is not merely lame, but a gross abuse of executive power, and is probably unconstitutional.

We are rapidly regressing to the bad old days of the Vorster regime, when, for example, Basil d’Oliveira was refused a visa to play cricket in South Africa with the MCC cricket team in 1968. That led to South Africa being isolated from world cricket for 25 years. Perhaps we need another 25 years of isolation from world soccer, since it seems we still haven’t learnt the lesson.

Our constitution is supposed to guarantee freedom of religion, and I hope someone challenges this in the constitutional court.

It is sad to see that the ANC, which fought for 70 years to liberate us from oppression, has now fully internalised the image of the oppressor, as Paolo Freire puts it, and is coming more and more closely to resemble the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal farm. Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo must be turning in their graves.

Is Black Liberation Theology “Racist”? | The Unbound Movement

Jeremiah Wright is the minister of the church attended by Barack Obama, one of the front-running candidates in the US Presidential elections that will take place in November. Until one of his parishioners decided to run for president, probably few people outside his parish had heard of Jeremiah Wright.

Over the last few weeks, however, he has been catapulted into celebrity status by the news media, and a great deal of publicity has been given to a sermon he preached a few years ago, and some people have reacted with shock and horror to “black liberation theology”.

Is Black Liberation Theology “Racist”? | The Unbound Movement:

The style and content of Reverend Wright’s preaching, and the theology that informs it, far from being an aberration, are archetypal examples of the Black church experience. That anyone would find the content and style of Reverend Wright’s sermons shocking only serves to underscore the fact that not only are many white Americans profoundly ignorant of the day to day realities of Black American life, but they are blithely unaware of the roots of their own national history. Out of the 400 some odd years that people of African descent have been present on the American continent, we’ve only been legally free for the last forty, and the fact that we are now legally free is due in large part to the efforts of the preeminent exponent of Black liberation theology, Dr. Martin Luther King. What other kind of theology could a Black church worthy of the name be reasonably expected to have?

Black liberation theology was quite popular in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in academic circles. Some of its exponents, like Alan Boesak, became political activists. But it seems a strange thing to make such a fuss about. Has anyone gone dredging up sermons by the ministers of the churches that other US Presidential candidates belong to?

Tibet — mixed messages

I’ve been getting mixed messages about Tibet.

On the one hand there have been pro-democracy organisations like Avaaz trying to drum up support for Tibetan rebels:

On Monday, thousands of people in 84 cities worldwide marched for justice for Tibet–and delivered the 1.5 million-signature Avaaz petition to Chinese embassies and consulates around the globe. (Click for photos.) Avaaz staff have engaged with Chinese diplomats in New York and London, delivering the petition and urging action. And a growing chorus of world leaders is joining the call…

Together, we’ve built an unprecedented wave of global pressure. The Avaaz petition is one of the biggest and fastest-growing global online petitions on any topic in history; since it launched on March 18, it has been signed by 100,000 people per day–an average of more than 4,000 per hour, day and night.

Politicians understand that there is power in numbers. We need to show them that they have more to gain by listening to their own people–and heeding the cry for help from Tibet–than by giving China a pass in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. Take action now

http://www.avaaz.org/en/tibet_report_back/5.php/?cl=69533376

And then I read blog posts like this:

The Dalai Lama � Steph’s blog:

You don’t win a Nobel Peace Prize without having blood on your hands and the Dalai Lama is no different, it might suit his followers (the Gelug sect) and the Americans to pretend that the ”God-King” is a wise, benign, pacifist and has some sort of democratic mandate to rule Tibet, but that’s plainly not true.

He’s a murderous, racist, charlatan and Western stooge. When he was in power he was a brutal, merciless, theocratic despot, who lived in the 1000-room, 14-story Potala Palace, and his followers were eye-gouging, child-buggering, corrupt, religious fanatics, (see Michael Parenti: Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth). Although, that doesn’t stop the murderous old fraud and his “Free Tibet Movement” from being a cause celeb for liberal imperialists and gerbil lovers, under the pretext of human rights.

(Gerbils? What do they have to do with it? Are they native to Tibet?)

And then there are fellow South African bloggers like Reggie Nel saying things like Reggie: Stand with Tibet – Support the Dalai Lama: “After decades of repression, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change. China’s leaders are right now making a crucial choice between escalating repression or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.”

But then again, on the other hand there is this: servethepeople: Tibet:

For his part, the Dalai Lama has successfully cultivated an image of gentleness, peace and simplicity which ahs an undeniable appeal to Westerners sickened by their own countries’ involvement in or support for exploitative and oppressive relations with the Third World, or alienated by the dehumanising nature of technological change and the general rat race of urban living. The Dalai is a “living Buddha” who has won acclaim, including a Nobel Peace Prize, for his rejection of violence.

The Dalai is also a clever and sophisticated politician, a wily manipulator of media opportunity and celebrity support.

However, he is not so clever that he cannot conceal his splittist intentions as regards China, nor his sham “patriotism” and “independence”.

These sound like harsh words, but they can be substantiated through the Dalai’s own materials.

So who is one to believe?

I think I go with Grant Walliser when he says Thought Leader � Grant Walliser � Free Tibet like you freed Kosovo:

Bottom line: China is a big pimp on the street and Serbia is not. That means you can gang up on Serbia, garner support in Kosovo and build US military bases in nice strategic positions. It means you can run detention centres like Guant�namo Bay in Kosovo and it means you can kick your old enemy Russia and your new one Iran smugly in the balls. And should Russian diplomacy make inroads with Poland and the Czech Republic when you need to put up your missile defence system at the confluence of Russia and Middle East, what a great alternative your new best buddy Kosovo would make. The clues to otherwise indefensible and incomprehensible behaviour are all in the timing and the agendas playing out behind the scenes (emphasis mine).

Come to think of it, what did Avaaz say about Kosovo?

Desmond Tutu barred from US Catholic university

Desmond Tutu barred from speaking at a Minnesota University

A peace and justice group at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota has been forced by the university president to cancel an appearance by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The cancellation was accompanied by the removal of the chair of the Justice and Peace Studies program, Prof. Cris Toffolo from her position as chair. She has tenure, but no longer heads the
department.

The university president, Father Dennis Dease, decided against Tutu’s appearance after consulting one representative from the local Jewish Community Relations Council and several rabbis affiliated with the university. This, apparently, amounted to a Jewish “consensus” in Father Dease’s mind.

The rumor of Tutu’s alleged “anti-Semitism” is based entirely on a propaganda campaign waged by the extremist group, the Zionist Organization of America. Though he is outspoken in his criticism of Israel’s occupation regime, sometimes even bellicose, Tutu has never displayed anything other than deep concern for all peoples and his sympathy for Palestinians suffering under the yoke of occupation.

Please write to Father Dease and urge that he reverse this tragic course. Tell him you want to see Prof. Toffolo reinstated as chair of the Justice and Peace Studies program and that the words and views of Bishop Tutu are important ones for the students at St. Thomas University to hear.

Go to Jewish Voice for Peace to write to Father Dease.

Al-Jazeera TV news network

My wife was feeling ill and stayed home from work today. She was channel hopping on the TV, and came across the Al Jazeera TV news network, and was quite impressed, and called me to have a look.

I don’t watch much TV, but the programme I saw was quite impressively presented. It was about Russian journalists by didn’t follow the Putin line on Chechnya being assassinated. And I found it interesting that in showing the funeral of one of them, the camera lingered on the priest, and on the cross on a nearby grave. It impressed me, because Western secular journalism tends to ignore such religious symbolism, unless, of course, it is the domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, but for the average Westerner that is as much a symbol of communism as of Christianity.

In establishing shots, too, they showed street scenes as seen by the average Russian, with trams and trolleybuses, rather than shots of the Kremlin.

It may be misleading, of course, that was just one programme, but I found the different approach was quite striking. I think I’ll be watching it some more.

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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