Saturday, August 4, 2012

The mind-boggling superstitions of Africa

I've written several times in the past about witchcraft and superstition in Africa.  A recent article in the Zimbabwe Herald illustrates this reality better than I could ever describe it.  Here are a few excerpts.

A 62-YEAR-OLD Gokwe man has come out in the open and claimed ownership of a goblin which has been terrorising women in his village by taking off their panties at night while they were asleep.

The man, Mr Lameck Ncube of Village Charisekera, under Chief Njelele, made the startling revelations at a cleansing ceremony in the village on Wednesday.

The cleansing ceremony, conducted by a n’anga from Hwange District in Matabeleland North and a prophet from an apostolic sect, was attended by Chief Njelele, hundreds of villagers and journalists from different media organisations.

. . .

Mr Ncube ... confessed that he owned the “menacing” goblin, which he claimed to have acquired long ago to enhance his luck.

Mr Ncube told the puzzled crowd that the goblin had, however, turned “hostile and weird” to a point of going around sleeping with women. A police officer who had been invited to the occasion to maintain order at one time moved in to restore order after some villagers whose wives fell victim to the goblin’s “sex” escapades threatened to beat up Mr Ncube.

The n’anga, who was accompanied by six aides, was forced with his team to temporarily stop the witch hunting ceremony as they accompanied Mr Ncube to his homestead to “capture” the goblin which shared a bedroom with one of Mr Ncube’s sons.

There was more drama as the villagers jostled to have a glimpse of the decorated goblin after the tsikamutanda brought it before the crowd. The goblin, which looked like a living creature, was wearing a pair of blue female panties, which village head Charisekera’s wife, Ms Silvia Marumbe, claimed to be hers.

Ms Marume claimed during the event that she lost her panties in mysterious circumstances in 2004.

The goblin was later burnt before the crowd.

In an interview after the burning of the goblin, Mr Ncube said he was happy that he was now a free man, saying the creature had been giving him sleepless nights for a long time.

Mr Ncube said he bought the goblin in Chakari near Kadoma in 1983 when he was still working in Kwekwe.

“When I bought this goblin, my purpose was to try and have luck in my life. I also wanted to get promoted at my work as well as acquiring wealth but when I later retired, I then learnt that the goblin had not performed to my expectations,” he said.

There's more at the link.  Go read it for yourself . . . and ask yourself:  how can any society where this sort of crap is taken seriously ever hope to integrate itself into the modern world?



JC said...

Well, that's why they need democracy!

Rule of LAw is more important, but doesn't get the popular supprot.

One man one vote one time, though, is a proven aid channel.

Dear sweet Jesus, the USA has sent billions of dollars to "aid" these poor countries, and this is the result?

It's almost like looking into a mirror.

trailbee said...

I wonder how these tribes will finally move toward a more modern society. If they are happy as they are, consider the unforeseen consequences if they are pushed too fast. Very interesting story.

Murphy's Law said...

Ah, the fate of Rhodesia...So sad. It was civilized once. And South Africa seems to be heading in the same direction. Or is there still hope there?

Chris said...

We laugh at their silly beliefs, but what about OURS? We have plenty of seemingly intelligent people who believe they saw ghosts, talked to the dead etc. Are ANY of these beliefs somehow more rational, or are we just more used to them?

Toejam said...

That horny Goblin can't be all that bad or he be stealing men's "Fruit of the Loom" shorts.

Anonymous said...

No hope.
Witness The Congo, The Sudan, The District ...

yankeerenaissanceman said...

I find it just as silly to believe in Christianity. Religious people seem to be missing some kind of reality gene in their DNA makeup. This will enrage Christians for sure, but in some foreseeable distant future, this religion too, shall pass.

Chas S. Clifton said...

I want to know more about how the village chief's wife lost her underpants "in mysterious circumstances."

Luke said...

I still hold on hope for South Africa, but sometimes I just have to shake my head and wonder. Everytime I go back I see so much promise hand in hand with so many things to concern me.

Luan - Cairns, Australia

Luke said...

Your comment concerns me. I've been to many countries in Africa, all with properly functioning democratic governments. They all have these superstitions. Many of the practitioners/believers are also educated and completely Christian, but scratch the surface and there is an unusual tribalism undercurrent. I would class this in the same way that you get east European mysticism, or possibly closer to home, witch hunting frenzies like America's own Salem example. Either way, it's not a matter of one man, one vote, but a matter of superstition, culture and mob psychology.

Luan - Cairns, Australia

Luke said...

I'm wondering what it was that they burnt in the end. I bit worried about that actually.

Luan - cairns, Australia

Luke said...

Well, according to evolution believing in a God is a natural part of being human, allowing us to cope with death. I would therefore submit that not believing in an afterlife, or the supernatural, is being less than human. After all, respect for the dead is considered an important step by hominid archeologists. Logically, not feeling the need to be religious is akin to being an evolutionary throwback.

You can't have it both ways