Witchcraft Beliefs

Topics: Witchcraft, Africa, HIV Pages: 5 (1743 words) Published: March 18, 2013
The curiosity and the question of witchcraft is not longer used to justify the unexplainable abnormalities to most areas of the modern world due to the research, science and natural explanations behind these misfortunes that occur. In Africa however, this is not the case. The belief in the existence of witches and witchcraft still strongly persists and is part of their culture knowledge. Author, Samuel Waje Kunhiyop states, “Almost all African societies believe in witchcraft in one form or another. Belief in witchcraft is the traditional way of explaining the ultimate cause of evil, misfortune or death.” In the African culture it is believed that witches and witchcraft is the cause of all that is negative and all the problems that happen in the world. (Cyprian F. Fisiy and Peter Geschiere). Some of the African witches choose to travel with migrants to other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom and continue their beliefs of witchcraft, which carries some serious implications. Their strong belief allows them to believe that both the positive and negative occurrences that happen are not by chance but by a human force. In the past it was believed that with time the belief in the practice of witches and witchcraft would evaporate and fade away due to the developments within the modern society, with such aspects like the growth in education rate and the embracing of religion, such as Christianity. (Aleksandra Cimpric). However, in Africa, this is not the case. The belief in witchcraft still strongly persists and has been altered and modified accordingly to the changes of the modern world. Previously, the topic of witchcraft was considered prohibited, yet now it has become part of everyday language in Africa. It is believed that that in Africa, there are several ways one may become a witch. (Comaroff, J. and J.Cormaroff) African witchcraft can be seen as an innate power to harm; that it is bestowed upon a person from birth. Sometimes it is believed that it is not imparted on to a child at birth, but rather it is inherited. The parents pass their beliefs on to their children. Many believe that the strong belief in witchcraft and evil presence are due to factors, such as the lack of education, but this however, has been proven not to be the case. Witchcraft is present in almost all parts of Africa, including the wealthy, built up areas where good education is provided. (Peter Schmoll) In many parts of the modern world, witchcraft and sorcery is considered to be malevolent and wicked but within African society it is not longer restricted to just the inner circle, instead it is viewed as the regular way of community life and continues to be present in everyday aspect of daily life. (Gregor Schmidt). Although viewed as a malicious force, there have been certain positive psychological and social aspects linked to the witchcraft beliefs. For example, those who choose to believe in witchcraft believe that all the hardships and misfortune that occur in society and in nature is not caused by natural or environmental factors but is caused by a human force, giving them an explanation to what may not be able to be explained. It provides for a correlation between misfortunate happenings and man, and provides for a ready made means of how to react to what problems and hardships that have occurred. (E. E. Evans-Pritchard). This allows for a scapegoat during stressful times within in the African community, prompting the human psychological need to place blame. The purpose of the need for a scapegoat within the witchcraft community is perhaps the most common explanation in all parts of the modern world as to why the belief in witchcraft continues to persist. The view of passing blame on to another for any misfortunes is the most solid link between the claim of witchcraft and the social anxiety and disappointments that are faced in everyday life. (Gregor Schmidt) Witchcraft and other evil powers have been blamed for almost all health...
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