It could have been a battle royale among witchdoctors against each other's testing skills last week in eSwatini - formerly known as Swaziland - until the government announced it is not in support of the show.
The competition was to be in Manzini, as organizers promised a spectacle in the southern African country ruled by King Mswati III, one of the world’s last absolute monarchs.
“The proposed competition of witchcraft and magic spells was unheard of in the country and it was regarded as an anomaly in the lives of the people of eSwatini,” government spokesman Percy Simelane said in a statement.
“Government will not sanction any competition of that nature. Anyone who will persist with any activity related to witchcraft will face the full might of the law.”
In many cultures across the world, witchcraft is punishable and someone can sometimes be stoned to death if he/she is accused of engaging in witchcraft. In medieval times, witches were burnt at stake, ostracized or stigmatized. The 1629 witchcraft crises in the US and the events leading to the emergence of King Arthur (as portrayed in movies such as Merlin, Arthur) speak volumes of how societies perceive the practice.
To have a competition announced by this group of persons in eSwatini is a miracle. It is like fast forwarding to the year 2150 and knowing that homosexuality will be celebrated as gay pride on the streets of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia or Tehran in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a reflection of the constant flux in social structure, trends and patterns.
Witches are believed to possess extra terrestrial powers to influence others. The diabolic ability to alter natural courses, cause harm and other negativity attached are why many view them as dangerous. Religious beliefs, especially due to the advent of Christianity and Islam, have further broken the wings of witches. They aren't 'flying' as usual in the face of higher supernatural powers. By the way, "suffer not the witch to live" is a matter of obeying God's commandments according to Jewish traditions and contained in the old testament of what is known as the Bible.
The statement which banned the event said the Witchcraft Act of 1889 defines witchcraft, sorcery or the practice of voodoo as a punishable offence.
“Government cannot sit back and watch while the lives of the citizens of this country are exposed to illegal and weird practices that have the potential to poison the minds of (Swazi people), especially children,” Simelane added.
“Government will not allow the voodoo competition — period!”
If witches were as powerful as they are feared, why have they not altered the minds of Africa's leaders to lead the continent in the right direction? Why didn't they at least fly to save over 120 passengers on board the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines? Witches could have at least provided a cure for HIV and AIDS and so on.
eSwatini has a population of 1.3 million people, with many following Christianity and indigenous beliefs.
Event organizers say the competition would have pit witchdoctors against traditional healers as under the previous king Sobhuza II, who died in 1982.
“The King was concerned about unnecessary competition among healers so he called them to one place so that they could demonstrate their powers,” he said.
“I was competing with traditional healers, doctors, and prophets from across the world.”
Header Image Credit: teamvogue.com