Freethought Kampala’s motto is Promoting Reason In A Superstitious Society. There’s a reason why this is so.
Superstition leads to, among many things, unnecessary death and suffering. In Uganda there hardly seems to be what might be called a ‘rational response’ to this growing problem of superstition – I dare say, none, because most superstition falls under the realm of ‘personal beliefs’ and is therefore beyond reproach.
Superstition is rife in Africa and informs many people’s ways of thinking on the continent. The consequences of this are evident, and they are appalling.
Last week in Burundi, a 5-year old albino boy was killed, his limbs chopped off. They killed his mother too. According to AP:
Ten assailants armed with guns and grenades killed Desire Vyegura, 5, and his mother, Susann Vyegura, in Burundi on Monday, said Kassim Kazungu, head of the Burundi Albino Association.
Both victims had their limbs chopped off. Attackers also pulled out one of Desire’s eyes and chopped off his mother’s breasts, Kazungu said. The attack took place in Cankunko village in the Cendajuru district, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of the capital city, Bujumbura.
Why did this happen?
The killings are fuelled by superstitious beliefs that human albino body parts will bring others wealth and success, Ntetema said.
"Body parts are sought for their supposed miraculous powers," she said. "Some use them as human sacrifice as advised by witch doctors."
Apparently a full set of albino body parts can fetch in excess of $75,000, and since 2007 approximately 10,000 albinos have been displaced or have gone into hiding.
If the irrational belief in witchcraft wasn’t so pervasive in this part of the world, people would not be hunting albinos for their body parts. Sure, poverty would persist and make people take desperate measures, but killing albinos for body parts wouldn’t be one of them.
But why do such irrational beliefs persist? Have people not gone to school, or been educated? ‘Most Africans haven’t gone to school’ you might say. Well, then, where are the educate ‘elite’ among us, and why are they not actively explaining to the peasants the futility and pointlessness of engaging in juju and other forms of black magic?
They’re nowhere – because they believe in it themselves. That is, they believe it works, even though not all might partake of it. Surely, if even university educated Africans believe that witchcraft is efficacious, what hope do we have for peasants?
If you are reading this, and you are a person who seriously thinks witchcraft works, I urge you to read this great lesson in critical thinking, watch this video, and apply critical thinking to your belief in the efficacy of witchcraft.
Witchcraft/juju/blackmagic does NOT work.
Stop killing albinos.