Global Missiology English, Vol 4, No 15 (2018)

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Witch Accusations against Women - by Chinyere F. Priest

Chinyere F. Priest - PhD & Masters from Africa Int'l U, Nairobi; widespread interests & publications


In Africa, with a focus on Kenya in this article, when people have problems some believe a mchawi (witch) is responsible. They then try to discover who the witch is in order to punish him or her. The witch is determined through a mganga (native doctor or traditional healer). The witch is punished because people believe that getting rid of the witch will solve their problem. Unfortunately, those accused often are children, widows, childless women, and the aged. These people face untold torture like rejection, abandonment, banishment from their communities, destruction of their properties, or even death. People try to explain why they have problems in their lives. One possible explanation is that someone has caused their problems through witchcraft. This article demonstrates how people (men in particular) accuse women as witches to explain the cause of their problems, proposes alternative explanations for the same problem, reports the untold torture inflicted on the women as means of solving the problems, examines some social effects of witchcraft on the accused, and a suggests response to the phenomenon.