Child Witch Hysteria Revisited

I’ve written about the Child Witch Hysteria in Africa before. It pains me to have to do so again. But the crisis has not abated.

A new, disturbingly detailed report has come out, entitled Branded and beaten: The children accused of witchcraft and murder. It focuses on Nigeria in particular. It discusses how the local Pentecostal Churches, supported by the Nigerian film industry, are perpetuating the beliefs that child witches exist.

The film industry benefits from perpetuating this myth in ticket sales. It’s akin to America’s fascination with zombie movies, but with more disastrous consequences. And false prophets from these churches benefit because people will pay exorbitant prices, often equivalent to more than a year’s pay, to have their children exorcised. It’s an insidious industry that preys on the most vulnerable among us.

Once a child is branded as a witch, usually because of some family misfortune for which he or she is blamed, that child will be tortured to exact a confession. Some of the documented forms of torture include hot irons, hot machetes, acid in the eyes, nails driven into the skull, starvation, beatings, drinking concrete, and/or being forced to sit on a fire. Some of these children are as young as two years old.

I think the reason this cause strikes such a chord with me is that when I was a child, my family suffered a great deal of misfortune. It’s simply by virtue of the fact that I was born into a culture that doesn’t take witchcraft seriously as a general rule (anymore), that I made it to adulthood unscathed. Location, location, location.

Child witchcraft is a sick, brutal, warped cultural belief borne of ignorance and financial desperation. These practices must be stopped. Please join me in supporting Safe Child Africa to protect these children and restore some semblance of life to them.

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A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book.

2 thoughts on “Child Witch Hysteria Revisited

  1. lyn sutton

    The only demons that need exorcising are the ones living in the souls of people who could do such evil to children and those who turn a blind eye.

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