| May 31, 2011

Healer or troublemaker? © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0

In addition to the rising cost of production, unclear property rights and limited access to capital, the tobacco grower I visited this morning had to deal with another challenge recently—witchcraft.

After several of his workers were killed in a car crash and others contracted mysterious illnesses, farm laborers started accusing each other of casting spells. They summoned a witchdoctor, but the ensuing spiritual cleansing ceremony got out of hand.

These rituals typically involve wild drumming and dancing and it is not uncommon for participants to lose control. Apparently, several workers started speaking in languages they do not normally speak. More disturbingly, one person was stabbed.

The witchdoctor was jailed for his role in the stabbing. Perhaps worse for him, his credentials were questioned.

The farmer says he had used lighter fluid, rather than magic, to make water burn.

Category: Breaking News

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