Does witchcraft exist?

August 25, 2012 • Think Tank • Written by :

The question of whether spells and witchcraft exist has been asked a million times by an equal number of people. Some people believe the issue of witches and wizards was brought about to scare young children, some say it was started when the world needed something to believe in whereas others do not believe in their existence at all.

Whatever the case, the answer to this question remains pertinent. History will show that the issue has been the centre of controversy for so many years and those suspected to be practising it have been subjected to all sorts of violence worldwide.

In Europe, from as early as the 16th century, women have been burnt alive and Africa too has had its fair share of witchcraft-violence rated crimes. It is mostly the old people and children in society that are victims of witchcraft violence.

Believing in witchcraft in Malawi and most parts of Africa forms part of tradition. In a study by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in 2008, 76 percent of sampled Malawian households said that they know of witches in their community and 62 percent said they know someone accused of witchcraft.

According to this study, the majority of the ordinary Malawian believes in witchcraft but what do experts in various fields think?

Traditional doctor Mapeto Nyonga said witchcraft exists, but the only challenge is that it cannot be seen or determined by the ordinary eye. This is why the existence of the practise has been questioned for so many years.

According to Nyonga, only a witch or someone who practices some sort of magic can tell who is a witch.

“Witchcraft is basically magic. Those who claim to practise it basically use magic that allows them to do certain things. It is a special kind of magic that only those who practise can appreciate its powers. This is why when people say witches have eaten a dead body, the body always looks whole to the ordinary eye.

“Some traditional doctors have ways in which they can tell who is a witch and who is not. Because it is just magic, this is why it is difficult to believe that someone has been delivered from it,” said Nyonga.

Commenting on the same, Bishop Mark Kambalazaza agrees with Nyonga. He said, in the Bible, when Moses turned his rod into a serpent, magicians came and challenged that they too could do that. The only difference was that Moses’ serpent was much stronger as it swallowed the other serpents. This is proof of the power of God.

According to Kambalazaza, there is what is called black and white magic. Black magic is that which is used to kill and cause harm to others whereas white magic is purely for show. He said black magic is the work of the devil.

“Witchcraft exists and it is among us. Even the Bible speaks of witches. In the New Testament in Acts 13, there was a man who was hindering the spread of the gospel and Paul declared that this man shall be blind. In Galatians 5 verses 19 to 21, the Bible says all people who practise witchcraft shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Black magic is the field of the devil. I have prayed for people who have told me that they have animals in their stomachs, others have told me that they have fridges in their stomachs. Witchcraft is real and it is among us,” said Kambalazaza.

He further said one can only be delivered from witchcraft by confession and receiving Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. He said the biggest mistake that people make is to go to witchdoctors to have the demon removed.

“I have delivered people from the demon of witchcraft. When one goes to a witchdoctor, the demon is not removed, it is just transformed. The devil cannot be used to cast out another devil. There is need for prayer and the person must confess with their own mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord and personal saviour of their lives,” said Kambalazaza.

Similarly, Islam believes in witchcraft. According to Sheik Dinala Chabulika, Qur’an chapter two verses 100 speaks of the beginning and existence of witchcraft.

“This is not a matter of debate. Witchcraft exists and the Qur’an clearly states that. Those who do not believe in this there is something wrong with them and they shall face the consequences alone,” said Chabulika.

Association of Secular Humanism George Thindwa said it is important for people to understand that witchcraft is a belief and that people who believe in is accept that there are people who fly around and use powers to do as they wish—witches and wizards. He said witches do not exist.

“The belief in witchcraft is there just like people believe in God. But the question of whether there is a God or not is another thing. So, people believe in witchcraft, but witches do not exist. So, this thing of casting spells on each other is not true. It is just in the mind of people,” said Thindwa.











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