Africa, The Continent Of Dogmatic Superstitions Where Witches Fly On Brooms In This 21st Century

4 min


African witches

I have been struggling for hours in search for a ‘proper/befitting’ title for this article. The reason why finding an appropriate title has been such a big deal for me this time is because the subject of the write-up is something that has always baffled me. And as such, I want to be able to pull many readers to have a look at this particular piece.

Africa has developed in so many ways with the socio-economic sectors being frontiers to the 21st century development of the continent. Certain parts of Africa have seen tremendous political developments where improved political discourses are held each day.

In spite of the 21st century developments, civilization and globalization, one aspect of the lives of many Africans continue to live in the medieval era, untouched and uninfluenced by the beauty of science, the opened mindedness and free-thinking of this century.

Fettered by fears, lack of education and our inability to fully embrace science or question things, superstition remains a robust and unchallenging force controlling the lives, minds and beliefs of many Africans.

In Africa, superstitious beliefs are held by almost every person you will come across. Even the very educated elites to some extent are incarcerated in their dark days by these beliefs. There is a little bit of such beliefs engulfed in the minds of all.

You may find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that, the religious leaders of Africa are the strong holders of the many dogmatic superstitious beliefs.

Though many African religious leaders (Pastors, Mallams,Imans etc)  do not practice or positively portray superstitions, they work tirelessly, pray hard and put mechanisms in place to fight or conquer the deeds of those (witches flying on brooms, wizards vanishing from end to another, dwarfs, fetish priests giving out black magic, etc)  who engage in superstitions.

The fact that religious leaders believe they have to fight, pray against or conquer these superstitions in itself is a strong credence that, to them, these things are real, exist and have real power to do what we envisage they do. Otherwise, why will you pray against the activities of witchcraft if you do not believe they are in action?

In Africa, nothing in life happens genuinely. No one dies without his or her death having been caused by another through some dubious means.  Accidents are never attributed to faults or incompetence of the people in charge or machine failure, they are always orchestrated by certain superstitious powers.

Holding solid superstitious beliefs and practicing them in the face of contradictory evidence is not uncommon in Africa. Even though this baffles my thinking faculty, it is the unfortunate ordeals that these believers bring to bear on others that worry me most.

Imagine a distressed mother who has just lost her pregnancy (miscarriage) having been confidently told that her aged grandmother or mother in the village bewitched her, and used her unborn baby for the witchcraft annual party that was held somewhere in the bush in the middle of the night.

The miscarriage may be devastating but the thought that your own mother or grandmother fried your innocent unborn child for a party is immensely diabolical.

It is not only the everyday people who buy into the several superstitious beliefs in Africa, many graduates attribute their inability to find their dream jobs to the evil activities of their relatives or people who do not wish them good.

It may shock you to know that, medical doctors who cannot help their patients frequently throw out sentences like ‘we cannot find what is wrong with you, your illness may be caused by some evil or dark powers so it is better to go and seek alternative help’.

And I am sure you know that, the help such patients are being encouraged to seek is from people who are deeply buried in superstitions.  I think it is safe to say that, even some medical doctors refer the sick to these superstitious believers/practitioners…What does this tell you? They all believe in it too.

The reason why in the face of contemporary human development and civilization, dogmatic superstitions remain astronomically relevant in Africa is that, it is a long connecting chain of beliefs held by both the illiterates and the literates. Who then has the audacity to question or undermine such drivel beliefs?

If anything has enslaved the minds of Africans beyond emancipation, then it is the countless superstitions that have blocked our minds from tasting logical reasoning, mental freedom and seeking the beauty of opened mindedness and the excellence of today’s science.

The last time I saw anyone fly on a broom stick for thousands of miles to cause harm or kill another was not in Harry Potter, but in the mind of a certain African.



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Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Founding Editor
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri is the Founding Editor of GhanaCelebrities.Com , a Film Critic and a Human Rights Advocate; he holds 2 masters degrees in Law; International Human Rights Law (LL.M) and Legal Practice Course (LL.M) from University of Leicester and Nottingham Law School--and also a degree in Law (LL.B) from University of East London. He's a Professional Truth Sayer and he is the author of the popular eBook “Success is a Right, Not A Privilege.” He currently works at Adukus Solicitors in London--where he uses his legal brains to kick real ass, for the good of clients and humanity. Contact: [email protected]

21 Comments

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  1. RIGHT ON POINT MY DEAR WRITER BUT WHAT I BELIEVE IS,MENTALLY, WE ARE STILL NOT LIBERATED IF NOT THAT WHAT?
    COME TO THINK OF IT ,HOW CAN AN EDUCATED MARRIED WOMAN SLEEP WITH A PASTOR (FALSE) JUST TO MAKE HER HUSBAND LOVE HER MORE. WE NEED TO FREE OURSELVES

  2. What can I say again lack of knowledge my people perish….Ghanaian have dedicated their life to pastors and witch doctors…..

    The time they realize this men of God are all false men of God it too late.
    Mostly the people who fall to this tricks mostly are women.

    To the people who believe in witches and gods of rock ,water gods etc are all wasting their previous time .

  3. THE FOCUS SHOULDN’T ONLY BE ON SUPERSTITION, WHAT MAKES PEOPLE BELIEVE IN IT.. ? EVEN SCRIPTURES SAYS ” WE SHOULDN’T WRESTLE AGAINST FLESH ÀND BLOOD BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES”
    IF YOUR FELLOW AFRICAN CAN PAY À SPIRITUALIST WITH THE AIM OF KILLING YOU OR CAUSING À MISFORTUNE IN YOUR LIFE, WHY WONT YOU BELIEVE ALL THESE SUPERSTITIONS. IN OUR AFRICA, YOUR BEST FRIEND MIGHT BE YOUR WORSE ENEMY INWARDLY, UNLIKE THE WHITE, WHEN HÈ HATES YOU, HÈ WILL OPENLY MAKE IT KNOWN TO YOU.
    À GOSPEL SINGER SANG; )NE ME NEK) NE BAA, )NE ME NE DIDI. )NO MPO NA )HYE ME NKWRAN, EDRU ANADWO À, NA OY3 ME. YOU MIGHT BE LIVING WITHOUT THINKING OF ANYONE, BUT SOMEONE WILL BE SEEKING YOUR DOWNFALL EVEN YOUR DEATH. THIS IS AFRICA, NO MATTER THE LEVEL OF ÉDUCATION OR CIVILISED WE ARE, SUPERSTITION WILL HAVE À LOT OF ROLES TO PLAY IN OUR SOCIETY. AFTER ALL, OUR FOREFATHERS PASSED THIS BELIEVE ON TO US.

    1. @KA NE WU, sometimes I wonder,let me ask you why do you believe in that???

      Osama bin laden was missing. For a decade this juju men couldn’t used their so call witchcrafcy to discover him for a ransom,,
      What has this spiritism help at all in Africa I. Beg free your mind from this jokes

  4. And so? People believe witches fly on brooms. Americans and Europeans believe number 13 is unlucky and so even today many hotels won’t have a 13th floor. They knock on wood, and many still believes the pull of the mon has an effect on moods. How is that different. All societies, WITHOUT exception, have their superstitious beliefs. It is not unique to Africa. The developmental and poverty issues we have in Africa stem primarily from colonialism, the systematic destruction and pillaging of Africa, as well as the arbitrary county divisions which contribute to so much conflict; and so on and so forth. There are many and varied resons Africa is poor. Blaming the issues in superstition is a fallacy.

    1. @Lady Jaye, There is a big difference in believing a certain number is unlucky or a certain person is unlucky and the belief in a witches flying at night over miles to other countries to make sure certain people do not prosper in life…

      Superstition is simply the belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events, such as astrology, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science…

      When white people realized astrology had no bases, they slammed and cut it off…In Africa, in spite of all contrary evidence, we are still holding on these superstitions…

      Lucky is far from superstition…I think you are getting it wrong…

      Also when will Africans stop blaming colonialism as the cause of all their problems? You know what, our mentality is the cause and not colonialism…

      Even today that we claim to be free, we are still doing what was done in the colonial days, selling our expensive resources to the white man for gin and gun powder (those days). Today, we are cheaply entering into agreements for the whiteman to mine and take away 98 percent of our natural resources while we receive 2 percent…Is that not stupidity and mental incompetence? Same things we did those days.

      Any individual or group of people who blame others for their follies all the time will continue to linger in poverty…And that is what we Africans are…White man this, white man that…

      1. @Posted By: Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Until the root causes of colonialism are ADDRESSED, nothing is going to change. You can change the surface, but won’t change the core so long as underlying issues are swept under the carpet. The detrimental impact of colonialism and its attendant ills cannot be overstated and have scarcely been addressed. And so the cycle will continue on and on and on. Simple as that.

        Additionally, luck and superstition go hand in hand. A lot of the things Western peoples think are “lucky” find their roots in religions – paganism and early Christianity. So tagging them “lucky” does not make them different from superstition. The supernatural causality is still there, just not spoken about.

        1. @Lady Jaye, Lady Jaye, i dont believe the issue is colonialism , i believe it about changing our mind set , that is the Paradigm shift. this comes about due to lack of education and believing in the little we can do and improving on it. our supersttition has made us blame other people other than ourselves( as in the caption above) hence we keep running in circles without sitting back to take responsibilites for our actions- that is what Chris in part is talking about. ppl are blaming others for they not planing well for their finances for example . as we educate our children and they educate their children’s children, with time all these superstition will be weakened. it will surely happen but Chris believe you me it will take some time to happened. lets keep preaching change.

          1. @V V, I shud copy-paste ur article n put my name on it lol u hit the nail straight on it’s head… I used to be that person, White man dis White man that. But all that does is relieve us of our responsibilities to educate ourselves, our kids n fellow ppl. Som blk ppl travel to western societies, don’t work collect benefits and say, well They owe us for all they took! U see the mentality. We are doing ourselves a disservice. Anyway I digress!  I do believe some of our superstitions can harm us but some do have detrimental outcomes. God didn’t tell us to be a fool…I of course will never deny that Evil exists in whatever form it takes but am not gonna hand over stashes of cash or take misinformed advise to ‘false prophets’. It’s absolute madness that ppl ordain themselves the power over people’s lives. As my partner said if these so called witch hunters were so concerned about these so called witches why not call on God to help these kids not bloody KILL them?! 

      2. @Posted By: Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Spot on Chris couldn’t have put it any better. Every time I hear ppl blame white man for anything I just marvel. I am in the states and I see lazy black ppl with false sense of entitlement. It’s greed and short sightedness that is killing Africa and nothing else. I was heavily involved in entertainment in Ghana and I have been approached on several occasions wit shady proposals of ‘deals’. Why do we see NGOs springing up here and there. We always claim to be angry when the country is portrayed as poor but ppl deliberately show that side for monetary gain. As a kid if you speak your mind, you are ignorant, disrespectful and arrogant. Yet its all about asking questions. Superstition is not even limited to Africa alone but even here in Louisiana and Salem.

        1. @kk, Why do some Africans speak as if we were the only ones colonized? America was also colonized by the British, and yet what is America doing today? They are providing aids for almost every African country…So what impact of colonization are you talking about?

          We have to face the truth and rise up and do REAL work, and also ditch our NOT helping beliefs to make progress. STOP blaming colonization for everything…

          We can’t even supply consistent electricity for ourselves and I guess it is the cause of colonization too right? Innocent children are being killed, because they are tagged as witches/devils and you think that is the cause of colonization? 

          Colonization did not bring those superstitious beliefs…

          See this and come and tell me it is the cause of colonization; http://www.ghanacelebrities.com/2013/01/11/must-watch-video-award-winning-investigative-journalist-anas-aremeyaw-anas-looks-into-the-murder-of-innocent-children-who-are-seen-as-evil-or-spirited-children-in-nothern-ghana

          1. @Posted By: Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, good post, its a wake up call for all of us, to eduacte our folks. colonialism is not the factor, the factor is the mind set.

          2. @Posted By: Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Are you listening to yourself? America was colonized by the British and ETHNICALLY CLEANSED THE LAND OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS. When you go to America today, where do you find the remaining Native Americans? On Reservations, with astronomically high levels of poverty and alcoholism. Please don’t even go there. I am disappointed you will even bring up such a fail of an argument. And i didn’t say innocent children being killed was as a result of colonization. If you want to argue my points, argue my points, don’t put words in my mouth.

          3. There is not colonialism here, which colonial master thought superstition? What are you even talking about? Superstition is ignorance, closed mindedness and believe in things without evidence…That is what Africans do.

            In the face of real and contrary evidence, we still believe in a bag of nonsense and we blame the white man for this? Whiles the whiteman is thinking about going to space, we are worried and thinking about witches, evil children and all crap of gobbledegook activities. And then we say it is colonialism…REALLY?

  5. The belief in witchcraft in Ghana and its attendant issues is sad. I read a joyfm report on how 90 percent of Ghanaian doctors believe some diseases are caused by witches and the effect that has on the treatment they give to patients. Still, I’m not sure whether underdevelopment is caused by the belief in witchcraft because my Asian classmates are also highly superstitious but their countries are really developing at a fast pace now.

    1. @Susie, this another big problem instead solving the problem they will be accusing some of their down fall or suspect their dead grandparents lol

  6. @Chris who is blaming white man of superstitions???com on
    Noo one in his or her rightful mind will blame that on a white man n,that thing is an African thing therefore I have not seen any comments directing it to the whit man sometimes face the facts and stop beating around the Bush by accusing people of blaming the whites.

    That superstition thing is just plain stupidity

    1. @27cдгibre(Ф_ф), Read the comment of Lady Jaye…This is what she said regarding this article;

      Until the root causes of colonialism are ADDRESSED, nothing is going to change. You can change the surface, but won’t change the core so long as underlying issues are swept under the carpet. The detrimental impact of colonialism and its attendant ills cannot be overstated and have scarcely been addressed. And so the cycle will continue on and on and on. Simple as that.

      Additionally, luck and superstition go hand in hand. A lot of the things Western peoples think are “lucky” find their roots in religions — paganism and early Christianity. So tagging them “lucky” does not make them different from superstition. The supernatural causality is still there, just not spoken about.

      1. @Posted By: Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, comparing Lucky to superstition is wrong ,total wrong,is like saying dislike and hate are the same .
        White man did not brought witches and superstition in Africa,they came with the bible they use it to robbed our heart and brain before they came with guns ,after that they ended it with the same bible.

        We have our gods and way of life before they came,
        Lucky is a personal thing

  7. I was just wondering how it is possible that the majority of Africans embrace easily the concept that there is a God. My personal take is that most Africans will embrace anything that is touted as the best explanation of life. It is for this reason that the majority of ‘Christians’ in Africa that I know would not think twice about consulting a witch doctor for issues that are considered to be outside the scope of what prayer could resolve. I often wonder how many people who profess to be Christians are truly saved. Superstition for as long as there is no adequate education will remain an inseparable part of the African culture.

  8. i find it interesting that africans readily accept christianity when it is in fact just another superstition just like islam bhuddism hinduism etc. Why was witchcraft unable to prevent colonization, surely we could have eliminated the colonizers easily with a spell