Busakatsi Witchcraft in Africa: Religion Or Criminal Act | Ancient Origins Members Site


Busakatsi Witchcraft in Africa: Religion Or Criminal Act

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Five sangomas at an Umgido Ceremony in Zululand (Wizzy/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

Busakatsi Witchcraft in Africa: Religion Or Criminal Act

The world is under the impression that the scourge of witch hunts came to an end in the 18th century. Cory was among the seven women and one man hanged as witches on September 22, 1692 in America and Anna Göldi was an 18th-century Swiss woman who was the last person to be executed in Europe for witchcraft on June 13, 1782. However, in this day and age, the specter still darkens the cultural landscape of Africa, where witch hunts and - executions are still regularly conducted.

Advertisement of reward for Anna Göldi's capture in Zürcher Zeitung. (Public Domain)

Advertisement of reward for Anna Göldi's capture in Zürcher Zeitung. (Public Domain)

On March 16, 2020 in South Africa an 83-year-old woman was assaulted, drowned to death in a water drum and her body was torched in her hut in the Majuba Village, outside Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape. The mob accused her of being responsible for the death of a young man.  Her 23-year-old grandchild escaped when the paraffin her attacker poured on her body failed to ignite. A man has been arrested for the attack and charged with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson, murder and attempted murder.  In May 2019, 78-year-old Ntombizodwa Toto-Madikizela was axed to death in front of her grandchildren. Her family, including 13 children, fled the village after their homestead was torched. The grandmother was one of 30 people killed in witchcraft-related incidents in the village since 2016. The victims include 16 women who were all accused of witchcraft and hacked to death, some in front of their children.


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