The African victims of witchcraft accusations
Witch accusation is a growing problem in many African countries, especially in Nigeria.
Witch accusations may occur due to death and illness in the family, harvest failure, layoffs or infertility. According to traditional African beliefs everything has a supernatural source, and it is often the children who are made the scapegoats.
The traditional African beliefs
In the past 50 years in Nigeria, many new independent churches emerged with roots in Pentecostalism. The churches are charismatic, and they use rhythmic singing and dancing in the worships services and a high emphasize on healing by laying a hand on a person and the ability to speak in prophecy. Unlike the official Pentecostal church these churches give room for traditional African belief in witchcraft and black magic.
The belief in witches, black magic and sorcery does not exist only in Africa, it exists throughout the whole world, and it´s not an outright “African thing”. Witch hunt goes back several hundred years, and is also a part of Danish history. Every year at midsummer we burn witches made of clothes at the stake. Millions of innocent people have throughout history been killed due to superstition and witchcraft. Mainly this has affected both children, women and old people for many years.
Superstition in Nigeria is most prevalent in Cross River State, Rivers State and Akwa Ibom where DINNoedhjaelp works. In Akwa Ibom Pentecostal understanding of Christianity mixed with local tribal religions leads often to a deadly cocktail that involves belief in witches and exorcism of witches.