WITCHES FLY OVER GAMBAGA.
“My granddaughter dreamt that I was hitting her head with a stick. When she woke up the next morning she accused me of being a witch. She started hitting me with a stick and others joined her. I was beaten and forced to confess. I had to do it because I feared they will kill me if I don’t agree with them that I am a witch”
This is the pathetic line that is repeated by the thousands of women who have been falsely accused of witchcraft in some parts of Northern Ghana. Ignorance and poverty, coupled with primitive cultural beliefs and practices have encouraged people to meet out very horrendous and inhumane treatment to innocent old ladies all in the name of witchcraft.
Many of these women who are accused of witchcraft are exiled in some seven so-called witch camps in the northern part of Ghana. Gambaga happens to house majority of them, thereby becoming the most famous witch camp in Ghana. The circumstances under which some of these people are dispatched there are disheartening. The very conditions under which they live are so horrible.
Ignorance has played a major role in this unfortunate practice. People are so ignorant about their society that they tend to easily give spiritual meaning to everything. Imagine a young man who has just over-fed himself and goes straight to bed. He is likely to have strange dreams. Worse of all, if his granny is the last person he sees before going to bed, it is her face she is likely to see in his dreams. Any bad dream that has the face of that innocent old lady’s face in it is interpreted to mean she is a witch and after his life. But the bigger question is, should we allow these people to hide behind the curtains of ignorance and the likes and dehumanize our women to that point?
A lot of questions run through my mind anytime I watch a documentary or read a piece on this particular topic. Is it only women who practice witchcraft? Is it only old ladies who excel in the school of witches? Are the wizards on strike? What actions are our numerous human right agencies and governmental bodies taking about this? Do the younger generations who perpetrate this act ever reason that it will soon catch up with them?
One thing which still baffles me is that, these alleged witches cease to operate the moment they get to the witch camps. If they are really witches, wouldn’t they have turned those camps into terror places by now. Will those camps not be launch pads for them to avenge the cruelty meted out to them? The flimsy reason given is that Gambaga and the like are sacred places where witchcraft cannot function. They also claim some cleansing rites are performed on them to neutralize their powers. On the lighter side, one of these days, like the legendary Captain planet cartoons, the alleged witches will get up and scream, “LET OUR POWERS COMBINE’ and hell will break loose over Gambaga and its environs. I wait to see the day witches will fly over Gambaga and cause real terror.
Whatever be it, we cannot hide behind religion, culture or any other societal institution to dehumanize the status of others. Let us all join hands in stopping this disgraceful and pitiless acts. Join in the education, join in the crusade. Tag as many people as you can and lets rescue our industrious and innocent women. We cannot also run away from the issues that confront us everyday. We must stand up to them and tackle them, else they ruin us all. GAMBAGA and the other witch camps must go!!! But do not be surprised when real WITCHES FLY OVER GAMBAGA tonight to go and eject the illegal tenants over there an take their rightful places.