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Archive for the tag “witch hunts”

The witch hunts of Papua New Guinea

Last night I watched a BBC TV programme on The witch hunts of Papua New Guinea – BBC News, and was struck by the similarity with witch hunts that have taken place in South Africa in the last 25 years or so.

The programme had interviews with people who had been accused of witchcraft, and with some of the accusers, and there were many similarities. You can also read more about the Papua New Guinea witch hunts here: Malum Nalu: Papua New Guinea has a witch hunt problem.

I don’t know if there were any attempts by Christian groups to deal with the problem in Papua New Guinea, but in South Africa there was a reluctance to discuss it in missiological circles. The only Christian groups that seemed to have come up with a way of dealing with it were some Zionists, and most Zionists don’t have an academic bent, so not much has been written about it.I did write one journal article, which you can read here: Christian responses to witchcraft and sorcery, but there has not been much response to it.

Where child sacrifice is a business

A few years ago there was quite a lot of publicity in the media about allegations of “ritual abuse”, especially of children, and the general conclusion seemed to be that this was an urban legend cooked up by religious crazies, and that had been completely debunked. Nevertheless there have continued to be reports of ritual murder in various parts of the world.

Now (hat tip to The Pittsford Perennialist: In Defense of Witch Trials) it seems that they are focusing on Uganda: BBC News – Where child sacrifice is a business:

The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda’s capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear.

Schoolchildren are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.

The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until about three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country’s economy.

The report, however, is slightly misleading, with its mention of “witchdoctors”.

Witchdoctors are those whose job is to counter witchcraft, not to practise it.

Witchdoctors who engage in such activities are like policemen who take part in bank robberies and vehicle hijackings — they find it more lucrative to practise crime than to catch criminals. We should be careful not to give the impression that those are part of the job description.

I would also take issue with The Pittsford Perrennialist on the question of witch trials. The witch trials of the Great European Witchhunt were largely based on false accusations, made for the same reasons as those engagecd in child sacrifice in Uganda and other places today — greed and covetousness. The accused were accused of Satanism, but the accusers were actually far more satanic, because the main characteristic of the satan in Christian theology is the making of false accusations.

For more on witch trials, witch hunts and witchcraft accusations, see my article on Christian Responses to Witchcraft and Sorcery.

In addition to revelations about child sacrifice in Uganda, there is also the news that the US is now sending troops to Uganda. Perhaps it has something to do with allAfrica.com: Uganda: Scramble for Minerals Begins:

The revelations come shortly after an aerial survey report confirmed that Uganda is endowed with copper, iron ore, cobalt, tin, gold as well as platinum.

There is anticipation for Foreign Direct Investment in the mineral exploration sector in the Great Lakes region as China looks for raw materials to oil its growing economy.

China’s entry into Africa is seen as catalyst for renewed interest in Africa by the European Union and US to undermine China’s emerging influence due its non-political interference policy on investments in Africa and the potential for monopoly access to energy and mineral resources.

Another hat-tip to The Pittsford Perennialist: Another War?.

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.

Saving Africa’s Witch Children

The disturbing new trend of witch-hunting, apparently sponsored by Neopentecostal Churches, continues to get publicity, but unfortunately the media reports are not very informative.

Channel 4 – News – Dispatches – Saving Africa’s Witch Children:

In some of the poorest parts of Nigeria, where evangelical religious fervour is combined with a belief in sorcery and black magic, many thousands of children are being blamed for catastrophes, death and famine – and branded witches by powerful pastors. These children are then abandoned, tortured, starved and murdered – all in the name of Jesus Christ.

This Dispatches Special follows the work of one Englishman, 29-year-old Gary Foxcroft, who has devoted his life to helping these desperate and vulnerable children. Gary’s charity, Stepping Stones Nigeria, raises funds to help Sam Itauma, who five years ago, rescued four children accused of witchcraft. He now struggles to care for over 150 in a makeshift shelter and school in the Niger Delta region called CRARN (Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network).

Is anyone doing any research into this phenomenon, on the origins and spread of these beliefs, and who is holding and propagating them?

Book review: The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World – Scotsman.com

With such a broad subject as witch-hunting in the Western world, it is a pity that this book was not broadened still further to include the whole world.

Book review: The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World – Scotsman.com:

Book review: The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World

Published Date: 08 November 2008
By Germaine Greer
THE ENEMY WITHIN: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World

By John Demos

Viking, 336pp, �17.99
JOHN DEMOS HAS BUILT A formidable reputation with his five scholarly books on early American history. His new book, The Enemy Within, is very different. Not only is it intended for a broad readership, but its putative subject, as indicated by the sub title, is no less than ‘2,000 years of witch-hunting in the western world.’ Demos tells us in his introduction that the plan for the book came from his publisher, but he does not really explain why he accepted the challenge. To paint so vast a picture requires a broader brush and rather more intellectual arrogance than Demos has at his disposal.

The review itself has come in for criticism. Letters – Witch Hunts – NYTimes.com:

I have not yet read John Demos’s new book on witch hunting (“The Enemy Within,” Oct. 12), but your reviewer, Germaine Greer, reveals an astonishing lack of up-to-date knowledge concerning a topic that has undergone a revolution among historical researchers over the last 40 years.

And I have a minor quibble of my own, when later in the review Greer says: Book review: The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World – Scotsman.com:

This reader would have been intrigued to find out what Demos, with his in-depth understanding of the events in Salem, would have made of the judicial murder of Joan of Arc, whom the British would have tried as a witch if only Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford, deputed to examine her, had not testified that she was a virgin. Joan was tried as a heretic instead, found guilty and burnt alive at the age of 19. Like the teenagers in Salem, Joan could cite spectral evidence. Whether her voices would be classed as saints from heaven or goblins damned depended on her judges. The British burned her; 25 years later the French retried her and declared her saint and martyr.

Many of the female saints of the early church behaved in ways that in a different setting would have brought an accusation of witchcraft. Many had relationships with birds and beasts identical to those that witches were thought to have. The seventh-century saint Melangell, for example, sheltered a hare beneath her skirts as she knelt praying in a wood and when the following hounds caught up they fell back whining; later, witches would be thought to inhabit the bodies of hares.

Interesting stories, but rather spoilt by the anachronistic references to “the British” — it was the English, surely? The story of St Melangell is interesting, though rather tangential to the main topic. I’ve blogged about that elsewhere at SAFCEI: Saints and animals.

But to return to witch-hunting, I’d like to see more comparative studies between the Western world and elsewhere. Perhaps they will prove or disprove my hypothesis that witch-hunting seems to increase in societies where premodernity meets modernity, as in early modern Europe, and much of Africa at the present day. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been over influenced by the title of the collection of essays by Comaroff & Comaroff: Modernity and its malcontents: ritual and power in post-colonial Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), ISBN: 0-226-11440-6, Dewey: 303.4, but the comparison is long overdue.

The Times – Military believe judge was ‘bewitched’

The case of a military judge who has claimed that she was bewitched has really set the cat among the pigeons.

The Times – Military believe judge was ‘bewitched’:

A Senior military judge has escaped prosecution for attempting suicide because some of the SA National Defence Force’s top brass allegedly believed her claim that she had been bewitched.

The defence force’s first black female judge, Colonel Phildah Nomoyi, 41, doused herself with petrol and set herself alight in her garage in June.

Now Thaba Tshwane — the military complex in Pretoria that is home to thousands of personnel from privates to generals — is buzzing with gossip about how Nomoyi escaped being booted from the force.

Not only is the unfortunate judge in danger of being sacked for “shooting herself in the foot” (as the saying goes), but the South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) have said they will lodge a formal complaint with the Minister of Defence, SANDF Legal services, SANDF Chief and the Defence Secretariat, against “the spurious religious prejudice and defamation demonstrated against Witchcraft by Colonel Phildah Nomoyi” and (according to reports) “supported by the SANDF in their refusal to remove Nomoyi from her Judicial position or charge her with conduct unbecoming.”

Which quite frankly seems utterly ridiculous. Or do SAPRA have evidence that Philidah Nomoyi has accused them, or any of their members, of bewitching her?

I believe that, however the case turns out, the SA Pagan Rights Alliance owe Colonel Phildah Nomoyi an apology for accusing her of “spurious religious prejudice”, unless they have evidence to show that she specifically accused them, or any of their members, of bewitching her.

It appears that they are confusing two very different things — the modern religion of pagan witchcraft, and premodern African witchcraft beliefs. As the historian Ronald Hutton has pointed out in his book The pagan religions of the ancient British IOsles,

By assuming that witchcraft and paganism were formerly the same phenomenon, they (Wiccans) are mixing two utterly different archaic concepts and placing themselves in a certain amount of difficulty. The advantage of the label ‘witch’ is that it has all the exciting connotations of a figure who flouts the conventions of normal society and is possessed of powers unavailable to it, at once feared and persecuted. It is a marvellous rallying-point for a counter-culture, and also one of the few images of independent female power in early modern European civilization. The disadvantage is that by identifying themselves with a very old stereotype of menace,
derived from the pre-Christian world itself, modern pagans have drawn upon themselves a great deal of unnecessary suspicion, vituperation and victimization which they are perpetually struggling to assuage.

Now I am sympathetic towards neopagans who have been maligned in this way, and have suffered vi8ctimisation as a result. But it is disingenuous to claim that Colonel Phildah Nomoyi had the slightest intention of doing this. It is confusing two very different concepts, and has the effect of victimising Colonel Phildah Nomoyi in the same way that neopagans have themselves have been victimised. She clearly has problems, and deserves sympathy rather than persecution.

Neopentecostals and witch hunts

Attitudes to witch hunting seem to be changing in African independent churches.

The old Zionists generally had a more humane attitude to people suspected of witchcraft and sorcery (see my article on Christian responses to witchcraft and sorcery) but the Neopentecostals seem to be displaying similar behaviour to that seen during the Great Witch Hunt in early modern Europe.

Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt | World news | The Observer

Pastor Joe Ita is the preacher at Liberty Gospel Church in nearby Eket. ‘We base our faith on the Bible, we are led by the holy spirit and we have a programme of exposing false religion and sorcery.’ Soft of voice and in his smart suit and tie, his church is being painted and he apologises for having to sit outside near his shiny new Audi to talk. There are nearly 60 branches of Liberty Gospel across the Niger Delta. It was started by a local woman, mother-of-two Helen Ukpabio, whose luxurious house and expensive white Humvee are much admired in the city of Calabar where she now lives. Many people in this area credit the popular evangelical DVDs she produces and stars in with helping to spread the child witch belief.

I’ve blogged about this before, but my initial impression is being confirmed by reports like these. Zionists are basically premodern. They worship wearing robes, and in their worship they beat cowhide drums. The Neopentecostals come with expensive sound systems, wearing suits and ties (the males, anyway). In Africa they seem to represent modernity, and so tend to reinforce (in my mind) the link between witch hunts and modernity.

A couple of days ago I was talking to Greg Cuthbertson, a South African historian, and Inus Daneel (a missiologist and AIC researcher) and they confirmed this impression from their own research and observations. I’ve been asked to take part in a couple of TV programmes recently, and in both of them concern was been expressed that people are leaving the traditional AICs and moving to the Neopentecostals. I’m not sure that that is correct, as I believe the Neopentecostals and Zionists (in South Africa) appeal to different constituencies, though as modernity takes root in Africa I believe the constituency of the Neopentecostals will grow, while that of the Zionists will shrink.

Greg Cuthbertson referred to a report from the Centre for Development and Enterprise, Under the radar: Pentecostalism in South Africa and its potential social and economic role, which referred to the role of the Pentecostal churches in promoting modernity.

This project has revealed a world of activity, energy, and entrepreneurship previously unknown to this otherwise well-informed South African think-tank. Flying under the radar screens of politicians, intellectuals, academics, and journalists are a large number of institutions and individuals that are actively concerned about and working on questions of values and personal behaviour. These concerns include family life, personal responsibility, unemployment, skills creation, and a range of other national concerns.

The last sentence could apply to many non-Pentecostal Christian groups as well. Greg Cuthbertson was somewhat sceptical about the report, saying that they tended to lump all kinds of things together under the general label of “Pentecostalism”, and did not understand hoe Christian denominations worked. But I believe the general link between Neopentecostalism and modernity is there.

___

If you are interested, you can see my other blog posts on this and related topics here and here.

Witchcraft accusations and exorcisms in DRC

BBC News | AFRICA | Congo witch-hunt’s child victims:

Congolese children are being accused of witchcraft and made scapegoats for the country’s many ills. Jeremy Vine reports from Kinshasa on the gruesome business of exorcism.

The sect – run by a free-thinking Congolese Bible teacher called Prophet Onokoko – has 230 children on its books. All are accused of witchcraft. Many have been thrown out of their family homes. All will have to undergo some kind of ritual exorcism to expunge the evil spirits.

I have a database of African Independent Churches (AICs) and would be interested in more information on this one, and on Prophet Onokoko. Does anyone have any more information on the history of this church, and its theology?

Catching up on the blogroll and tying threads together

December has been a somewhat broken blogging month.

A couple of weeks ago there was a storm that knocked out our phone lines for a couple of days — a cable struck by lightning or something. No sooner had that come back than we lost web access — run out of bandwidth again, halfway through the month! No I don’t do YouTube and podcasts, so it must be someone else in the family — perhaps my son downloading updates to his graphics program, which he’s using to draw fleas.

Then it comes back, and then it’s off again. Telkom has a thing that lets you buy extra bandwidth now, but it doesn’t seem to work. There’s a problem, they apparently didn’t like my credit card, so I report the problem but there’s no feedback. They simply don’t reply. Later my wife tries with her credit card, and that works, so we are back on the web, but for how long I don’t know.

So I try to catch up with blogs I read — starting first by checking on visitors to my blogs who have either left comments, or who have left a record of having visited through MyBlogLog. Then I go on to my blogroll, and so eventually discover several others who have been blogging on similar topics to me, so here is some of the catchup, and linking similar threads together. Some of them have been on my other blog, Khanya, which I use for afternoon and evening blogging, since Blogger works only in the morning. If it were afternoon now, I’d be blogging this on Khanya too, but since it’s before noon, I’ll use Blogger while it’s working.

Christian responses to witchcraft and sorcery

This is a topic that has long been of interest to me, and I recently blogged about it on my Khanya blog, noting an apparent difference between Christian responses in Southern and Eastern Africa, and those in Western and Central Africa, notably in Nigeria and the DRC. And this seems to be spreading to the Western world as well, through the African disapora.

In my catchup, first through MyBlogLog and then through my blogroll, I discovered that some of my blogging friends have also been blogging on this topic:

If you’re interested in the topic, those are well worth a read.

We’ve also been discussing it in the AIC mailing list. One things that strikes me about all this is that it seems to point to a significant divergence between Pentecostal and Neopentecostal theology, and between the attitude of Zionist and other “Spirit-type” African independent churches (AICs) on the one hand, and Neopentecostal AICs on the other.

I say “seems to point” because there does not seem to have been enough research on this topic. It’s something that needs urgent attention from African and Pentecostal theology researchersbecause people are dying, and so far the reasons are mostly based on guesswork.

For me there are at least three big questions, probably more:

  1. What is the reason for the apparent differences between Eastern and Southern Africa and Western and Central Africa?
  2. What is the difference between Pentecostal/Zionist theology on the one hand, and Neopentecostal theology on the other?
  3. What is the link between Neopentecostal theology and Neoliberalism? How far have Neopentecostals bought into the Neoliberal ideology, and is Neopentecostalism simply a contextualisation of the gospel in a Neoliberal worldview (thinking of economic liberalism rather than political liberalism here).

The Golden Compass

Before the film The Golden Compass (based on Philip Pullman’s novel Northern Lights) was released, there was an SMS campaign by some people in South Africa urging people to boycott the film. I blogged about this at The Golden compass — to boycott or not to boycott. When the film was released I went to see it, and enjoyed it, but found it rather over-simplified. But once again, I’ve discovered some of my blogging friends had written far better reviews than I could:

The first is from a neopagan, and the second from a Christian perspective, and both are well worth reading. Lots of people have written reviews of the film, but these are two of the best.

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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