The Salem Witch trials in Africa

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“There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep himself in the dark”.

When reading Aurthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, an eerie image is painted of greed, jealousy and deceitfulness, but the painting is not set in the quiet village of Salem, it is more likely to be set in the dry and deprived lands of Africa, within the cracks of the many homes of African women and children.

Various people in Africa are left refugees due to the harsh circumstances of war, something that they are all too familiar with, but now a new war is emerging as are an unfamiliar group of refugees. It is the war between good and evil and Satan and God, and this idea of witchcraft contaminating the various villages of Ghana has caused many, but particularly old african widows to flee from their houses in the dead of night and seek a desperate escape route from torture, beating and lynching, it is these women who have now become refugees due to this nonsensical ideology that is destroying Africa. In the eyes of a delirious religious african, the combination of a dead cattle and an outspoken or extremely introvert elderly woman leads to the shocking discovery of a new witch. Not only does ignorant views such as this effect elderly women, but even children are now being thrust into this sordid ordeal. Children are now being brandished as a witch by their own parents for the most ludicrous reasons, whether that be wetting the bed, being too stupid or clever or even having nightmares, according to the african norms these are the symptoms of possessing an evil spirit.

Upon reading ‘The Crucible’ it is fairly easy to see the border line between the actual belief of witchcraft within some of the citizens, and the sense of personal hatred  formed into a secret agenda that is disguised as a belief of witchcraft. On the 1st of September 2012, another ‘witch’ was forced to drive off on the back of her son’s motorbike to a witch camp in Ghana, because she had been accused of killing her own niece. The one thing that is important to understand about Samata Abdulai(pictured above) is that she is old and most fundamental of all, she is a widow and according to the ActionAid report, around 70% of the women in the Kukou camp in Ghana have been accused of being a witch and have been ordered to leave their towns; but only after the passing of their husbands. When people hear the word witch, alongside with fear, they also hear the word profit. There are too many widows being accused of witchcraft, as there are too many african families who search for ways to get rid of these widowed women in order to get their hands on their property. Who do they turn to? Their churches? The only sacred place where God will supposedly clear the mist of accusations and free them from it? Without a doubt they do not and should not. These churches do not seek ways to bring out the truth, the right truth, instead they encourage these beliefs in order to profit from them. There have been incidents where the pastor of pentecostal churches have been ever so keen to generously confirm children of being witches, for a price, and even take the time out to cure these poor souls, for a price. Profit, profit, profit is all that seems to come with these numerous accusations of witchcraft and it is clear to those whose eyes are actually open, that it is these malicious people who stand and point their fingers at the women and children of Africa who are the wrong-doers.

Being african, I’ve heard my fair share of witchcraft gossip and I’ve taken into not believing them, but now I have come to realize, hypothetically speaking, that there are in fact murderous witches in Africa who bring  sorrow wherever they go and it is those who accuse and not those who are accused, who are the real witches, but my words are useless, because according to them, there will always be “wheels within wheels and fires within fires” within the lands of confused Africa.

With the addition of facts from
Whitaker, Kai. (2012). Ghana witch camps: Widows’ lives in exile. Available: Last accessed 6th Sept 2012. Is this how its done?

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