Witchcraft in the news
With misrepresented reports in the media lately with regards to the Occult, Witchcraft and so-called ‘African Witchcraft’, SAPRA (South African Pagan Rights Alliance) has really had their hands full.
This is not the first time these types of reports have appeared in the news spotlight and it more than likely will not be the last.
The latest onslaught of media attention seemed to have started with a small article about a mutilated rabbit’s body found in the Edenvale area. Without proper investigation, fingers were suddenly pointed at “African Witchcraft” as the culprit.
Our country was then shocked by the killings at Lonmin’s Marikana Mines, where 44 people lost their lives, 34 during police action. Once again fingers were pointed towards “African Witchcraft”.
Lifeline South Africa began reporting that they were disturbed by the calls they received with regards to Witchcraft, Satanism and the Occult. They expressed how instilling their Christian beliefs on those who called them for help was the way to go.
These are just three examples of what has happened in recent months. Not including brutal attacks on individuals and families in the name of Witchcraft.
All these individual incidents are used as fuel for a greater machine. Christian fundamentalists use these examples, even though they are riddled with misinformation and at times they are more fiction than fact. (A good example is that historically there is no such thing as “African Witchcraft”, it is an idea that was created by those wishing to create fear of Traditional Healers).
These types of non-factual reports can be used by some (and I’m sure have been) to create mass-hysteria.
The first step in the fundamentalist’s machine seems to be to resurrect the South African Police Service’s Occult-Related Crimes Unit. (SAPS ORC). Two officers in each province have apparently been ‘trained’ to assist with Occult related crimes.
I do believe that this crime unit could possibly be used for good. We have Witch-hunts and muti related killings ongoing in this country. If their focus was perhaps prevention and education, I believe they could make a difference. However after having read the mandate for the new unit it has become clear that perhaps their reason for existence is of a different nature. (Their mandate is available in my Facebook group ‘The Wicca Series’ and has been mentioned in the previous blog post by Damon Leff).
It appears that the SAPS ORC officers have been trained with inaccurate information that begins to infringe on the constitutional rights of Pagans in South Africa, Traditional Healers and all who share Occult related religious beliefs.
It is the result of incorrect research (if there was any thorough research done at all) of Occult related beliefs.
Most of us were raised to ‘look-up to’ and respect the Police. They are meant to be a symbol of what is good and right. The Police Service is meant to know better, in a way individual officers are supposed to be community leaders. The SAPS ORC lets us down in all of these areas. I will be honest here; it really and truly frightens me.
My personal religious beliefs are peaceful. I do not harm people or any living creatures. Yet those who are meant to guide and lead us are telling the citizens of this country a very different story.
If the goal of the people behind these actions and the SAPS ORC is to create fear, hysteria and possibly incite violence, then they are definitely on the right track. If it is not, I suggest they stop and ask for assistance from people who are actually educated in matters of the Occult. They should rather work together than create division and attack the basic human rights of religious minorities.
SAPRA has been fighting the good fight for all Pagans across South Africa and I personally would like to thank them. Without their strength and endurance, despite the odds, my religious rights as a Wiccan would not be what they are today.
Thanks to SAPRA, Pagan rights in South Africa are years ahead of many other countries, and in a way it allows us to become leaders and role models to other countries fighting for their Pagan rights.
I believe that the greatest way we can show gratitude to those individuals who have fought for us for so long, is that each and every Pagan in this country can do their bit to help create awareness.
Occult Heritage Month (24 September – 23 October) is a campaign that has been created to help us achieve this.
Please educate yourselves in these matters and share them with as many people as possible so that they too can become aware of what is happening.
I do ask though that you keep one thing in mind when doing so, the goal is awareness and education. We are not here to force our beliefs on anyone but to share information that will allow others to understand our beliefs better.
You cannot fight fundamentalism with fundamentalism! Facts and truth are your strongest weapons! ~ Nathalie Beulah
First published on http://thewiccaseries.blogspot.com 04 October 2012