55% of Africans who are 19-45 years of age believe in witchcraft according to a Gallup poll conducted in 2009. Witchcraft broadly means the practice of, and belief in, sorcery, magical skills and abilities that are exercised by individuals and certain social groups.
Many people in Africa recognize the Zulu battle cry “Bulalani abathakathi” which is translated to kill the witches/wizards as an undisputed truth. Witchcraft is practiced in many African countries but it brings real devastation and loss to many African families. Gallup Research conducted a poll in 18 sub-Saharan countries that showed that more than 55% of the people interviewed believe that witchcraft exists and it affects people’s lives causing sickness, misfortune and death. In countries like the Ivory Coast, 95% of the people who participated in the poll believe in witchcraft.
During colonial times, most colonial governments outlawed the practice of witchcraft as well as the practice of witch hunting. They even passed the Suppression of Witchcraft Act. This meant that there was no justice for the victims of witchcraft and the wicked witches and wizards practiced their destructive activities freely with the support of the colonial governments.
The Witchcraft Suppression Act 3 of 1957 is an act of the Parliament of South Africa that prohibits various activities related to witchcraft, witch smelling or witch-hunting. It is based on the Witchcraft Suppression Act 1895 of the Cape Colony, which was in turn based on the Witchcraft Act 1735 of the United Kingdom. As of 2012 the constitutional validity of the act is under review by the South African Law Reform Commission.
The Witchcraft Act of 173 was a law passed by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain which made it a crime for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practicing witchcraft. The maximum penalty set out by the Act was a year’s imprisonment. This law was used as the basis for many witchcraft suppression laws in British colonies.
Westerners tend to deem justice against witchcraft as some backward practice of the ‘uneducated and unenlightened people of the dark continent.’ In the western countries however, witchcraft is even openly celebrated during the holiday known as Halloween where parents dress their children as witches and ghosts and decorate their homes with symbols of witchcraft all the while denying that witchcraft exists. Western children’s stories and cartoons are ripe with witchcraft practices but they chastise Africans for demanding justice against the practitioners of witchcraft. Colonial governments outlawed the practice of enforcing justice against those accused and found guilty of witchcraft which is deem as defending witchcraft and victim blaming.
In recent times feminists have made the naming of witches a crime against women. They intentionally ignore the harm that witchcraft causes to its victim and further victimize the victim of this horrific practice that leaves a train of destruction. Witches engage in infanticide, genocide, accidents and loss of life and other kinds of evils against their victims.
In the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibwo the governor outlawed the practice of accusing children of witchcraft. However, Christians across Africa whether educated or not know that the supernatural world of good and evil exists and are keen to root out, pull down, and destroy, and throw down witchcraft practices wherever they exist. Jesus Christ, whom the religion of Christianity is based upon destroyed demonic activity in people. The Holy Bible the sacred text of Christians states in Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live and is the basis of witch hunts in Africa. In Africa we know that witchcraft exists, its time for us to top denying it. Instead, we should be working to see how we can protect the victims of witchcraft.