The African victims of witchcraft accussations
Witch accusing is a growing problem in many African countries, especially in Nigeria.
The couses of witch accusations may be due to death and illness in the family, it can be a harvest failure, layoffs or infertility. According to traditional African beliefs everything has a supernatural couse, and it is often the children who are made scapegoats.
The traditional African beliefs
Over the past 50 years in Nigeria, there emerged many new independent churces with roots in pentecostalism. The churches are charismatic, and they use rhytmic singing and dancing in the worships services. The emphasis on healing, through the laying on of hands, and the ability to speak in prophecy. And unlike the official pentecostal church this churches gives room for traditional African belief in witchcraft and black magic.
The beliefs in witches, black magic and sorcery do not exist only in Africa. It exsists throughout the whole world, and it´s not an outright “African thing”. Witch hunt goes back several hundred years, and is also part of Danish history. Every year at midsummer we burn witches made of clothes at the stake. Millions of innnocent people have throughout history been killed due to superstition and witchcraft. Mainly this has affected both children, women and old people for many years.
The superstition in Nigeria is most prevalent in Cross River State, Rivers State and Akwa Ibom where DINNoedhjaelp works. In Akwa Ibom mixed pentecostal understanding of christianity with local tribal religions leads often to a deadly cocktail that involves belief in witches and exclusion of witches.