Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Million Kwacha Showdown: Malawian Secular Humanist vs The Witch

Thindwa posing with some accused "witches", Liviness Elifala
and her friend Margaret Jackson. (source).
Awhile back I first reported about George Thindwa, head of the Malawian Association of Secular Humanist which has recently received financial aid from the Norwegian Embassy in Malawi to combat dangerous superstitions about witchcraft.

I also reported that Thindwa, like James Randi, has a million kwacha challenge to whomever to demonstrate proof of the existence of witchcraft. Sort of like Randi's challenge to the homeopathic medicine industry with homeopathic overdoses and exactly like Sanal Edamaruku's challenge to supposed witches and wizards of India, Thindwa is challenging witches and herbalists in his country to bewitch him.

It would be hilarious if people in Malawi didn't actually take witchcraft so seriously and if lives weren't really on the line here.  In this place, charges of witchcraft have landed people in jail for years and destroyed lives.

Well, now a herbalist has stepped up to the challenge and claims he shall bewitch Thindwa and win the 1,000,000 kwacha prize.

Thindwa is an activist fighting for rights of people persecuted for allegedly practicing witchcraft which isn't recognised by Malawian laws though there is a widespread belief of its existence in the country. 
He claims that there's no evidence to prove the existence of witchcraft and as such he announced a reward of K500, 000 to anyone who will give proof of witchcraft by bewitching him. The amount was later revised upwards to K1 million after noticing that no witch or wizard came forward to cast a spell on him. 
The herbalist, Masiyambuyo Njolomole, who is also president of Dedza Herbalist Association, a grouping of over 2, 000 traditional medical practitioners in the district, said he is ready to bewitch Thindwa.
So it's a battle between the Executive Director of the Malawian Association of Secular Humanism and the President of the Dedza Herbalist Association.  Stay tuned!

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