Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thousands Of Child 'Witches' Banished to Streets

Naomi is 15 but looks 10. A horrible burn scar shrivels the skin across her chest and shoulder. She had a broken leg, now reset. But her face is calm; she speaks clearly. The physical scars are nothing compared with the trauma she has been through. She is one of the so-called child witches of Kinshasa, rejected by her family and community at six years old and left to survive on the streets.

Naomi gives a smile as she recounts how she found another church which took her in and sent her to Kinshasa. She has ended up in a hostel run by War Child. She is lucky. Tens of thousands of children live in the cemeteries, markets and streets of Kinshasa feeding on rubbish, begging and stealing. Most are there because of witchcraft accusations - mostly from their own families. The phenomenon is spreading, with recent cases of child abuse motivated by the belief that the child is possessed by evil spirits, showing up in London, Paris and Amsterdam.

The roots lie in a distorted development of African culture. Witchcraft does not mean in Africa what it means in Europe. Traditionally in Congo, every community had mediums who communicated with spirits in the other world. These were usually older people, revered and respected. The spirits they communed with or were possessed by were usually neither good nor bad, simply powerful. Full Story

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Jayde_Wolfe said...

MM! Just wanted to say that even today witches are faced with discrimination and torture, and that's terrible. You don't see witches going out there and discriminating or torturing christians, do you?

Great article!

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Simple Magick said...

That's a good point. You don't see much of that at all.

3:12 PM  

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