African witchcraft

Horrific African Witchcraft Is Big Business in Tanzania

Witchcraft is an ancient practice as old as mankind itself. All over the world it exists in many different forms; forms that take on religion, spiritualism, medical practice, life improvement, or any combination thereof. Unfortunately, African witchcraft has taken on a much more sinister aspect.

In Africa the witch doctor is just one of three types of individuals practising witchcraft. He is looked up to as one of the most important members of society because of his alleged ability to steal sicknesses, improve one's life through magical spells, and divine the future. Being a witch doctor in Africa means a place of honour, power, and wealth.

Albinism and African Witchcraft

Because spirituality and mythical beliefs play such an important role in African society, any physical abnormality found in an individual is thought to be the result of some sort of curse or punishment. As an example, if a mother gives birth to an albino child it's assumed she is cursed. In places like Tanzania they believe such curses come from the mother having an affair, practising sorcery, or previously touching an albino.

In southern African countries like Zimbabwe and Nigeria, albinism is thought to be a punishment from God. They believe both mother and child are being punished because the mother practised sorcery, ate food she was not supposed to, or used bleaching creams. Some cultures even go so far as to claim albinos are ghosts rather than real human beings.

The Business of Albinism

False assumptions and beliefs about albinism in Africa have led to some very serious and disturbing consequences. In Tanzania for example, albinos are believed to hold some magical power that will make non-albinos rich. African witchcraft taps into that alleged power by killing the albino, dismembering him, and using his body parts as magical tokens and lucky charms. As an example, weaving the hair of an albino into a fishing net is believed to increase the catch and make the fisherman wealthy.

The real influence of African witchcraft means that albinos are looked on as products to be harvested rather than human beings. It is not safe for albinos to be in public during broad daylight, and even less safe at night. When the sun goes down albino children and adults live in fear of being hunted like wild animals.

Southern Africa's Children is Helping

Though African witchcraft is having a devastating effect on Africa's albino population, Southern Africa's Children (SAC) is one organization providing help on the ground. They have partnered with the Ukerewe Albino Association to challenge the stigmatisation of albino people, especially on the Lake Victoria Island of Ukerewe.

There SAC has established the Umoja Community Centre along with an education program designed to raise awareness about African witchcraft and albinism. The organization is focused on teaching witch doctors, clan chiefs, and other influential members of local communities in order to end the stigma of albinism and stop the slaughter of innocent victims. You can help further SAC's efforts through a donation to the Ukerewe Umoja Community Centre.

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