By David G Maillu
When we say that there is no scientific explanation in witchcraft, what scientific barometer does the teacher use to make that claim? What is science? What are the dimensions of science? Which science? I put it to the teacher that a lot of what we call witchcraft is centrally scientific.
African scholars have failed us in addressing the witchcraft subject and taken refuge in the Whiteman’s cheap conclusion regarding the validity of witchcraft. I am talking about a subject I have taken interest in for many years. Not in order to be a witch but a researcher. I have my findings in a forthcoming book titled, Revelation of Traditional Witchcraft, focusing on the Akamba community.
In order to throw some light into my argument, let me present one of my documented examples obtained from members of my family. I will protect their identities by giving them different names. The case took place in the later time of 1950s, involving an old woman, Kalewa and a grandson boy, Musau. Kalewa was a traditionalist who had never gone to school. She could give long lectures about witchcraft. But the quest matter of her lecture is not the subject matter here.
The case took place when I was schooling in the old colonial Intermediate School. The family of Kalewa had one most feared bull. The bull had terrorized the village as it could kill anyone. The bull was called Masimba. Masimba particularly mocked women who it gave nightmares. The family lived with fears that one day Masimba bull would kill someone.
One day the family decided to get rid of the bull by selling it to butchers. Kalewa loved the bull in spite of its aggression. However, when Kalewa heard the decision on the fate of the bull, she didn’t buy the decision. The family turned against her demanding, “Will you afford to compensate anyone killed by the bull?” Her answer was quick, “I will not afford.” However, she requested that she should be given a few days to think about the matter. The family granted her the request.
Musau was her favourite grandson with whom she had shared many good things and family secrets. On the second day she called Musau privately and said, “I don’t want to have Masimba sold. Do me a favour. When in the evening the cows have been brought home, keep an eye on family members. When you will see nobody around the home, come running and tell me.” Musau didn’t ask why.
It took nearly a week before Musau caught that moment. When he rushed the report to his grandmother, she told him, “Give me a moment.” She went into a private place for a while then returned to him holding her genital covering, ithalu. It was a cloth belt with a six-inch square covering in the middle. It was traditionally worn by women. Kalewa hadn’t weaned to modernity to start wearing pants. It was common knowledge that women hardly washed the ithalu. They would wear it unwashed until it was worn out then throw it away for a new one. Kalewa must have been wearing hers for years.
Kalewa approached Musau by handing the ithalu over to him and instructing, “Now that Masimba is in the shed, take this thing with you and go until you get very close to him. You know he can’t attack you because he is locked in. When he gets charged coming to you, let him come closest to you, then hit him with on the head with this thing. That’s all. After doing that bring it back to me.” Musau remembered that his nose could smell the item from the distance as he carried it.
That was what Musau did when Masimba charged threatening to destroy Musau. After hitting the bull Musau noticed something instantly. The bull backed from him and appeared horrified. However, after finishing his business he returned the item to the grandmother who said readily, “Masimba is now castrated.” When Musau asked how Masimba had been castrated, she answered, “Masimba will start licking people when they come close to him. Please, never tell anyone what we have done.”
Musau didn’t know what that meant until the next day. Apparently, Masimba had radically changed and become as tame as a cat. In days to come children would walk under Masimba belly and women would touch Masimba then Masimba would appreciate their touch. Masimba became the most tame bull the village had never known. The family stopped the sale. What happened to Masimba to have forced him that radical change?
One does not need rocket knowledge to conclude that Kalewa’s genital covering carried extraordinarily charges capable of neutralizing and immobilizing Masimba’s aggression permanently. If you want to call it witchcraft, do so. The explanation is that the human body is capable of producing extraordinary electromagnetic charges. Those charges are particularly concentrated in certain zones of the body. The leading zones are the genitals, the breast, fingers, lips and so on. This should be taken with the understanding that particular people have more charges than others.
Women making pots in many parts of the country have had experiences that when a particular village woman (witch) passed by and looked at the newly made pots, the pots developed cracks and got destroyed. That is why when they sport her coming, they protect the pots by covering them and surely the pots remain intact. The stories about people with “evil” eye are commonplace in nearly every community. These are people (witches) who, for example, when they look at a handsome child and throw a comment on the child, the skin of the child starts developing rashes. Children are more sensitive to that. In my mother tongue that effect is called kita and the worst of it is kithemengu which is the same name among Kikuyus.
The electromagnetic charges that human beings produce are the ones which the super sense nose of the dog uses to trace people. The dog is charged by being given an item belonging to the victim. Thereafter the dog smells out the movements of the person up to his destination. If Kalewa’s cloth was dropped somewhere a dog would retrace the owner.
Back to Ken Ouko’s case with the old Luo woman. The curse may be potentially dangerous. Africa is flooded with stories about the effects of curses. The so-called curses are delivered in electromagnetic charges produced by molested person when the molestation reaches the highest degree.
Even the snake-like fish called, eel, hunts by touching its prey and producing electric charges above 400 watts which are fatal to prey. The reason that witches make use human bones, hair, genital parts and the others have a big scientific story to tell. Ken Ouko should know that the human hair, bones, sweat, saliva, breath and so on, have incredible genetic properties which, for millenniums African witches have exploited in manufacturing lethal dosages. It’s sheer biochemistry science.
Our scholars are barely intellectual-plants grown in pots of the western scholarship. Thank God, if African scholars will not research of this incredibly rich field which, by unknown and strange reasons, are attributes of the Blackrace, we, the stupid Africans, can rest assured that the Whiteman scholar will eventually discover the treasure and do thorough research for us. He will consequently colour the results to suit his purpose.
(Bwana Ngunjiri, this is the part you asked for. Make sure the forthcoming book on witchcraft is nicely mentioned}
The quest regarding whether it is true that there is witchcraft power capable of punishing a couple engaged in adultery by getting stuck into each other, must be viewed within the bigger context of the dimensions of witchcraft. There is a shopkeeper in my countryside, at Muumandumarket who has used witchcraft to protected his shop from shop robbers.
On two occasions his shop has been broken into. However, when the robbers got the loot, instead of taking it away, they took it to the shopkeeper’s home. In Ukambani there are uncountable witnessed stories of protected homes that, when the thief goes to steal, he looses his senses and stays there until the owner finds him.
When the famous theologian Professor John Mbiti was a boy he witnessed an astounding event in his village when the countryside was invaded by locusts that wiped out every green thing, only for the villagers to be told that one farm belonging to a person connected with witchcraft, had not been touched at all by the locusts. He went to witness it and he was astonished to see it with his own eyes that, indeed, the locusts had not touched anything in that farm. He has published the report in his book African Religions and Philosophy. What kind of power, magic, medicine or witchcraft was that which kept locusts from devouring the man’s farm?
When I was a boy I fell ill and a traditional healer man was invited to treat me. In order to prepare his herb the healer asked for a goat to be slaughtered. My father pointed at the goat and when he moved to slaughter it, the healer stopped him then he asked him, “What’s the name of the goat?” My father replied, “It’s called Kelu.” Then, from a distance the healer greeted the goat, “WakyaKelu?” The goat jumped into the air, fell down and kicked its way to total death. What powers did that healer have with which to kill a goat by merely greeting it?
Witnessed stories of adulterous couples getting stuck during their act are many in Ukambani and there are known specialists who are consulted to bring that act into effect. Anyone interested in them should pay visit to the lower part of Kitui, Nguni, to meet the specialists. It is a practice which has remained active mainly in parts of Ukambani which have not been heavily affected by westernization. However, he should be aware of quacks who capitalize on the hunger of men who want to protect their wives from infidelity.
The protection is delivered in two forms. The first one involves some material used to kill the erection of any man who attempts to have sex with the treated woman. This treatment is more common. It is also used to neutralize the power of highly sexed women. The getting-stuck-in-sex act has few specialists, but is it real.
These cases have no scientific explanations, but that does not disqualify their validity. When it comes to matters of metaphysics, science, as we have received it from western scholarship, becomes a primitive tool of explaining all dimensions of life. This is because it is founded on empirical approach. Empiricism says if a thing cannot be detected in the workshop of science, then it does not exist. Science cannot explain why, long before the Blackman ever saw a Whiteman, in nearly every part of Africa there was a prophet who foretold the coming of the Whiteman, the features of the Whiteman and what he will do to the natives.