The Sage English Dictionary defines witchcraft as the art of sorcery. Witchcraft is a spiritual phantom that has always been there and cannot be ignored.
As much as the universe is gradually embracing the technology development, the 21st century has brought along with it, witchcraft has also had a way of developing its ways too.
It was very astonishing to hear the Minister Sports and Culture, Honorable Thapelo Olopeng, at the National Culture Day celebrations in Tonota village, saying Batswana should try to discard the belief in witchcraft. With all due respect, if Mr Olopeng was an ordinary person like me I would say he is a disgrace to our cultural beliefs as an African.
Witchcraft to an African man is more like a Spanish guitar to a Spanish man. There is no way one can separate the two.
With all the mysterious deaths and fires that have witnessed in the country lately, I cannot believe Mr. Olopeng stood so bold and encouraged the multitudes of Batswana who were listening to him to ignore these things and treat them as normal fires and God planned deaths.
He made it clear in his speech that the reason why Africans are not developing is that they are busy indulging in witchcraft.
How could he say such a thing to us? Americans, like Batswana, also believe in witchcraft. To illustrate, Americans have a thing called a love portion that serves the same purpose as our Moratiso in Setswana culture.
As much as we still walk and depend on earth for our survival, witchcraft will always be part of us. The bible dubs earth as the home of Satan; and where there is, the devil bad things like witchcraft will always surface. People will always kill others for spiritual powers or use human genitals and heads to make their business flourish.
We have come across incidents in our local newspapers where people were abandoned dead without genitals.
A popular one is the death of a prominent bus owner at Mmadinare who disappeared mysteriously and was later found dead.
Another example is the bizarre story covered by Botswana Television in the 90’s of a girl in Kanye who vomited concrete stones.
My Honorable Minister, was this one of God’s mysterious plans like your speech insinuated? Absolutely not! All these ke boloi that happened here on our soil, there is no way Batswana can dissociate themselves from this.
As long as the devil exists, witchcraft will always be there. Unless you distinguish the two for us that is when as a nation we will understand what you meant.
I am not saying witchcraft is our culture. All I am saying is that witchcraft will always be part of us. That neighbour who is jealous of his neighbor’s success, a Motswana interprets this as “go loya ka pelo.”
I am certain we have so many jealous people in our country. Instead of urging people to abandon their belief in witchcraft, the Minister could have at least encouraged Batswana to make prayer part of their culture to fight witchcraft.
With so many mysterious deaths in our country, it is high time we have witchcraft cases taken into consideration in our courts.