Self-confessed young witch claims she was initiated by mother
IT does not really matter whether or not you believe in witchcraft because the sensational nature of an audio recording uploaded on social media recently, will leave no one indifferent.
The recording in Oshiwambo, which has since gone viral, has already attracted the attention of traditional leaders, social workers, police officers, church leaders and the public at large.
The 14-minute audio reveals an 8-year-old girl being interrogated by unidentified people at an undisclosed place in the Ohangwena Region.
In the audio, she mentions names of alleged witches and also relates how she was purportedly trained as a witch by her own mother.
She boasts of being able to bi-locate and magically pass through concrete walls and claims responsibility for the illness of several people who ended up in hospital but their infirmities were allegedly misdiagnosed by medical doctors.
She also claimed responsibility for the destabilisation of her father’s marriage with a woman other than her mother, which is now on the rocks.
The unbelievable contents of the audio are taken seriously by people who believe that witchcraft is rampant in Namibia, but there are many others who are sceptical, dismissing the claims either as hallucinations or naked exploitation of an innocent child in a personal vendetta against specific individuals.
The girl was picked up by social workers from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, and police spokesperson Warrant Officer Abner Kaume Itumba mentioned the possibility of a criminal case being investigated against those who interrogated the child.
He noted that some of the people mentioned by name and called witches have already lodged a complaint with the police. Law enforcement officers are looking into the matter.
“We want to know what transpired, why the child was interrogated and how and why the audio was leaked on social media. Dissemination of those kinds of allegations causes animosity and disharmony in the society. Family problems must be solved amicably by consulting clan elders, village headmen or social workers,” he advised.
A community court juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that both the interrogators and most of those identified as witches are known to him personally.
He pointed out that the interrogators are associated with a new religious sect which offers “deliverance prayers” in the area.
He pointed to a segment in the audio clip where a female interrogator can be heard asking the girl whether she attends the church services and whether she was prayed for and identified as a witch, but another interrogator interrupted her before the child could give an answer.
The juror pointed out “discrepancies” in the girl’s testimony and accused her interrogators of having a hidden agenda as evidenced by the “leading questions” they asked her.
“She was tricked into saying things about herself and her family without considering the negative consequences. The future of a Namibian child was destroyed. Just imagine how many villagers, teachers and fellow learners consider her now as a witch,” he said.
With the advent of Christianity, widespread belief in and practice of witchcraft among the indigenous people of Namibia became mostly something of the past, but the current mushrooming of new religious sects has rekindled the belief in witchcraft and fear of witches – a fear comparable only to the “witch craze” phenomenon of the 14th to the 17th century Europe.
Self-proclaimed prophets, apostles and pastors identify witchcraft as the cause of most of the problems afflicting their followers.
And they have a ready solution — deliverance prayer!
The Secretary-General of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN), Reverend Alpo Enkono, said that curious and naive members of mainstream churches are increasingly becoming easy prey for the new sects, what he described as a serious challenge that needs urgent attention.