Faith versus traditional conception

People will argue that some instances in life make it justifiable to explore every avenue of possible healing. Seeking treatment from witch doctors is a common practice in most African cultures and Malawi is no exception.

There are couples that have stayed in marriage for years without children and their only solution could just be a trip to a sangoma for a possible solution.

For 40 years, Gogo Makwacha from Area 24 in Lilongwe claims that he has been assisting people with various remedies from love and marriage problems to pregnancy issues as well as ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

He meets women with all kinds of problems. Some, he says have had children before, but fail after a couple of years while others have never had children at all.

Makwacha says the problems are wide ranging as some are a result of multiple abortions, uterine swellings and, yet, others are a result of contraceptives.

All the same, he claims to have solutions for all sorts of pregnancy problems and terms the solutions Nansula- which enable people to eventually hold their own children.

But what is the religious view on consulting sangomas? Marriage counseller and preacher Constance Masamba argues that children are a gift from God and that spiritual things that are not from Him are likely to bring about problems.

“God is the creator of human kind and we need to wait on Him for everything, including children. At the appointed time, He surely gives,” she says.

Masamba advises that people need to exercise patience and wait on God although it is often hard to do so.

The servant of God further notes that herbs provided by the sangomas often have evil spirits attached to them because for the sangoma to come up with a solution, he or she first hears directions from evil spirits, pointing them to the right herb for a particular problem.

“They often derive from spiritual realms. If you try to find out how the sangoma discovered the herb they will agree there were spiritual activities involved. And mind you, these spirits are evil, not godly at all,” she points out.

But Gogo Makwacha argues that there were no hospitals in the beginning and people used herbs.

“Women that were unable to have children have been assisted with herbs for so many generations and have experienced the joys of motherhood,” he says.

Nonetheless, Masamba says that people must consider what the Bible says about seeking healing.

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