Witches in South Africa

The western witch community in South Africa is a small group. Witches in South Africa can be classified into several broad groups. The largest group of witches in South Africa, and indeed Africa, are the so called “tribal healers” or “witch doctors”. Many of these so called witches are nothing more than power brokers of some sort. Responsible for the killing of many people in South Africa and Africa.

Their reason – they are killing witches. Witchcraft killings in Africa have reached alarming proportions, bigger than the witch hunts of the old west, these mostly innocent people are killed in the most macabre ways. In Uganda 300 people were executed as witches in one village in one day, and in the following weeks more than 800 people were killed. The magic healers, or magic practitioners use the label of witch for many reasons – political enemies are often the victims. The largest group of victims, by far though, are woman. Often buried alive or subjected to trial by ordeal, they have been killed in their thousands over the last decade. In South Africa, isidliso is particularly prevelant – this is the “black poisen” created by evil witches to kill others.

With monotheistic religions, like Christianity, mixed with ancient African beliefs, holding most Africans in its sway, it is easy for this form of belief to have catastrophic results. The belief that a healer can control nature by casting spells or using secret incantations gives enormous power to healers. Monotheistic religions still push a belief of a universe that has some sort of spirit being, being in control – whether that be demons or angels.

Witchcraft in South Africa, western witchcraft, is practised by woman, and they are known a Pagans. The craft is called Wicca. This is mostly practiced by white people. With a base belief of : “An it harm none, do as ye will” this practise is mostly harmless, working towards compassion, respect and empathy for others. Pagans use powerful symbols like the pentacle to help with their craft. Silver pentacle pendants are often worn as a symbol of female energy and in gold as male energy. Any spells that a witch throws, like love spells, does not exert power over others but rather power over oneself. Wiccans or Pagans practise their witchcraft all over the world.

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