An overview of witchcraft belief in Namibia and how it particularly affects people suffering from dementia and mental illness.
‘Education is the strongest weapon through which one can change the world’ ( Nelson Mandela)
Christoff is working at the petrol filling station in Divundu. I met him on Monday ( 11/4/16). My favorite line when I am traveling in Nambia : ‘Do you know a Witch?’ , start the conversation with Christoff.
“My grandmother is a Witch. Last year I was very ill because she bewitched me. After I recovered , I told her:
If you don’t stop bewitching us ( family) I will cut of your ears because you are not listening and after that I will kill you”
Frieda is the floor manager of Namushasha Lodge in east Caprivi on the banks of the Kwando River.
Last night at dinner I explained to her what I am doing and why I am here. Three times she stopped me and said:
When are coming to us to help us also in the Zambesi?
After showing her the pictures of Ndjinaa and asking her about her understanding of witchcraft she said to me:
” I think it is only uneducated people who keep on running to witch doctors when they getting jealous about some one like me who are rising up and start to have a better live. Education is very important to counter the superstitious believes of witchcraft. The witch doctors is making only big money.
If their bewitching is not working they always say: “The person who you want me to bewitched went to a stronger witch doctor than I am”
Being in the Kavango/Zambezi is proofing to me that the first step in any region is to established a place where ‘witches and Wizards’ can be save.
A place that can also be the place from where ADN can start education programs in the community , from as young as possible ,to help people Understand Dementia and the impact on the lives of people living with brain diseases/disorders caused by the superstition of witchcraft.
I am today on my way to meet Headman Coster. He had a meeting with the community and they agreed that he need to give ADN a place where a save haven for ‘witches and wizards’ can be build.
A STORY OF LOVE AND COMFORT
Many moons ago , when Christmas trees where tall and our two daughters where small,
we as family travelled a lot , and every time when we travelled through the country side and Sufrani and Elsabe noticed big animals with their ‘children’ They always said:
There is the mother ( s) and their children! For me it was very annoying , because It was a proof that I as father and fathers in general was absent fathers in their little minds.
Being with people living with dementia, for a great part of my life the last year or more ,corroborated their statement day by day!
Why? You maybe asked me:
Because in many different ways , we as care givers , very often hear our ‘dementia family’ speak about, or asked for, or cry for their mothers when they are in need for comfort, feels alone or are afraid, or any other unmet need their long term memory reminds them of their mothers, who might be the one who can help
They are calling out for their mothers, hallucinating about their mothers and even act like one another’s mother!
I like to share with you one of the most beautiful ‘mother child comforting’ acts that happened this week at our Dementia care home !
Look at the picture and try to celebrate the beauty of humanity with us, despite dementia! You can, if you do understand that this is a single bed and the ‘child’ in this case is Tannie Sophia who is blind but found her way at night to the bed of her ‘mother’ Tannie Joey!
a Remberance Tree. Linda’s fig tree , where we can go and sit in the shade and enjoy the fruits while remembering her as one of our family memebers, who has joined us in 2010.
She laughed a lot, live dancing and got angry with herself when she struggled to express herself with words that dementia stole from her memory.
she also taught us that music is and will always be part of us, humans but music can also be very annoying and I hope my wife and family will remember that ‘boeremusiek’ is one of the genre in music that annoys me extremely, just as much as some ‘ common’ afrikaans music annoyed Linda and made her aggressive because she couldn’t explain it to us with words but was capable to do it through her body language.
we miss you very much Linda! And thank you very much for the Fig tree, Leon, Janette , Johan, Jana and Lynette.
3 murders in 8 months in 2015 in the Kavango.
When she saw me the first time , standing next to her bed, she suddenly got frightened and shouted for help…she called me ‘Master ‘and was really very very scared! I left the room and just hope she will calm down and sleep well!
After I left she calm down and when I phoned this morning Auguste told me that she had a good nights rest.
I phoned her daughter today and asked her about her mother’s life history. I said to her: I think your mother is scared of me ,because I am white! What she told me saddened me immensely.
My mother was as a young women a domestic worker in the Namakwaland. Her white masters sometimes took her with them on holiday to look after their children…she was transported , locked up in the boot of the car, to their holiday place. Sometimes never paid her and let her go hungry to bed!
Today she kept on calling me master in a way that saddens me very much! Once when she turned her face to the wall I softly touches her on her arm and said: I love you very much Auntie Marie!
Than she replied: Dankie oupa ( thank you grandfather)! She could hear me but didn’t see me.
I never will be able to replace the reality of apartheid she is living in , because it is and will always be her reality , but I hope I can help her to create ‘ good feelings ‘ about seeing a white man as some one who really care for her!
DEMENTIA IS AND WILL ALWAYS REVEALS THE SINS OF US AND OUR FATHERS! WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CHANGE REALITIES OF THE PAST , BECAUSE I AM MY BRAIN….BUT WE CAN STILL CREATE QUALITY OF LIFE THROUGH LOVE!!