BY Farida Dawkins, 12:00pm October 27, 2018,

The harrowing exorcism ritual that ‘removes’ evil spirits in African children

African woman in a trance...Reiseblog

It is widely known that African spirituality, animism and voodoo were just some religions practised before some Africans converted to Islam or Christianity. In fact, many Africans practise traditional religion together with mainstream religion or have simply reverted to traditional spiritualism.

One thing for sure is: African religion still holds a heavy influence on society.

The harrowing exorcism ritual that 'removes' evil spirits in African children

Mystic still life with a voodoo doll, the tarot cards, books, evil candles and witchcraft objects. Halloween concept, black magic ritual or spell with occult and esoteric symbols, divination rite…istock

This is evident in Senegal,which is considering the institutionalisation of witchcraft as a method of traditional medicine, a move that is expected to ease the burden on already overcrowded hospitals.

On the flip side, witchcraft can also be used for harm. Josephine Iyamu, a Liberian residing in Britain, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for using voodoo in sex trafficking and obstruction of justice. Iyamu recruited women from Nigeria to work at a self-constructed sex operation in Germany. At least five women were required to take part in voodoo rituals, where they drank blood infused with worms and consumed chicken hearts. The ladies also had to pay $44,000 to Iyamu and her workers.

The harrowing exorcism ritual that 'removes' evil spirits in African children

N’anga (spiritual healer or herbalist) of the Shona people, Great Zimbabwe…Ancient Origins

For more than superficial reasons, traditional religions incorporate the use of non-western medicine which can be practical and convenient.

Let us also not forget that African religion was used as a way to promote peace and justice in communities before the introduction of Western laws.

Suffice it to say, traditional African religion, witchcraft, Voodoo, etc. are alive and well on the continent and in the diaspora.

The harrowing exorcism ritual that 'removes' evil spirits in African children

Exorcism being performed on a man..Blog Talk Radio

Kindoki is prevalent in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The notion suggests that a person inflicted with it has been possessed by evil spirits. Conversely, the spirits can be removed by performing exorcisms.  Victims have also been known to be submerged in water for periods of time, starved and beaten.

One case in point is the death of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu.

On December 25, 2010, Bamu was drowned in a tub in a flat in East London. He was found with 100 injuries on his body, as reported by BBC.

Bamu’s sister Magalie and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi were found guilty of murder. The pair believed Bamu was afflicted with an evil spirit.

In August, The Sun documented the story of Mardoche Yembe, a 26-year-old man.

Yembe was sent to Tottenham, North London to live with his aunt and uncle after the death of his mother in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the age of eight, Yembe was accused of being a witch. His belongings were burned, he was starved to the point where he had to search for money on the ground to secretly buy food and made to undergo exorcisms, according to The Sun.

Yembe recalled his experiences, “I was pulled out of school and made to fast and kept up for days without sleep,” “I was accused of flying in the night, killing my mother, putting curses on my family and even eating babies for dinner.” “I was so frightened I’d be too scared to leave my bedroom to go to the toilet. I’d wee in a bowl and pour it on the carpet but this made things worse as children who wet themselves are often accused of being possessed.”

“They took me to several pastors and advised me that the situation with my possession was so serious I would need to be sent back to the DRC.”

After Yembe’s school contacted social services, he spent three months in a psychiatric ward for being suicidal. Subsequently, he was placed in foster care.

The harrowing exorcism ritual that 'removes' evil spirits in African children

Victoria Adjo Climbié…

In 2000, eight-year-old Victoria Adjo Climbié of Abobo, Cote d’Ivoire was tortured and killed in the United Kingdom.

At the time of her death, Climbié had 128 separate injuries and scars on her body, was found to have cigarette burns, struck with bike chains, hammers and wires.

Climbié’s condition and a journal entry made by her caretaker’s boyfriend site him calling Climbié “satan” and documented that no matter how hard she was hit, she showed no signs of pain.

The aforementioned cases are not a condemnation but rather a call to recognize how religion shapes every facet of our lives and our thought processes.

Religion or spirituality is a guide for structuring our lives according to the principles in that religion or way of life.  It should not be a basis for inflicting harm on anyone, especially children.

Last Edited by:Nduta Waweru Updated: October 28, 2018


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