Written by Sherry
Thursday, 15 November 2007 16:56
The New York Times covered this appalling reality today. It is heart wrenching and stomach turning.
In some parts of Africa (Angola, the Congo, and the Congo Republic)many children are being accused of witchcraft and then cast out of their families. Some are even being killed.
Culture, decades of war, poverty all play a part.
"It is a common belief in Angola’s dominant Bantu culture that witches can communicate with the world of the dead and usurp or “eat” the life force of others, bringing their victims misfortune, illness and death. Adult witches are said to bewitch children by giving them food, then forcing them to reciprocate by sacrificing a family member."
It is unacceptable to abandon a child because you cannot feed them but it is acceptable to abandon a child because he or she is a witch.
"But officials attribute the surge in persecutions of children to war — 27 years in Angola, ending in 2002, and near constant strife in Congo. The conflicts orphaned many children, while leaving other families intact but too destitute to feed themselves.
“The witches situation started when fathers became unable to care for the children,” said Ana Silva, who is in charge of child protection for the children’s institute. “So they started seeking any justification to expel them from the family.”
Bishop Emilio Sumbelelo of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Uige runs the only shelter for boys in the town (there is none for girls). 32 boys abandoned by their families because they were believed to be witches live in a shelter the size of a three car garage. All others have been turned away since July because there is no space.
"To date, we have not found any special way to fight against this phenomenon.” said the bishop.
Be sure and take a look at the multi-media that accompanies the article with its picture of the Catholic shelter.